CBS News: Health Care Lobbyists’ Rise to Power

Written by admin on October 20th, 2009

CBS News reports on the revolving door from Capitol Hill to the lobbying business focusing on the health care industry.  They note a number of high level participants mentioned in The Best Government Money Can Buy?, a non partisan documentary film.

Story here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/20/cbsnews_investigates/main5403220.shtml?tag=stack

There are 3,000 registered health care lobbyists on Capitol Hill — that’s six for every single member of Congress. And in many cases, those lobbyists are former members of Congress who shaped laws that benefitted the industry they joined.

The so-called “revolving door” is perfectly legal, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports. Yet it leads critics to ask whether some who are supposed to be watching out for taxpayers have other interests.

In 2003, the pharmaceutical industry got a multi-billion dollar windfall with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage for seniors. Congressman Billy Tauzin, and Senators John Breaux and Don Nickles each held key roles in passing or shaping Part D. All three then left their government jobs and became lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry.

Tauzin reportedly earns a $2 million salary to head up the biggest pharmaceutical lobby group: PhRMA. Breaux and Nickles have started lobby firms that are each pulling in six figures from the drug industry.

“There was sort of a mass exodus of members of Congress and staffers to go work for either pharma or pharmacutical companies,” said Olga Pierce of ProPublica.

 

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