WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 "The opposition to health reform is a web of vested interests with major financial stakes in the status quo," say former Chief of Staff to the House Aging Committee/former White House Drug Policy spokesman Bob Weiner and Analyst Jordan Osserman in a column in today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"30 key lawmakers involved in health legislation total $11 million in health investments," Weiner and Osserman explain in their op-ed, "Insurance Industry Isn't on Patients' Side," exposing the opposition to Obama's health care reform initiative.
"The health industry is spending $1.4 million dollars per day to lobby against reform. Three of every four major health firms have at least one lobbyist who worked for a congressman. 49 lobbyists employed by PhRMA are former congressional staffers who retain cozy Hill relationships."
"Rick Scott, president of Conservatives for Patients Rights, is flooding the airwaves and funding disruptions of congressional town halls, warning about 'government run' healthcare. Yet Scott was ousted from his former company, for-profit hospital operator Columbia/HCA, before it pled guilty to 14 felonies, paying the largest fraud settlement in American history - 1.7 billion dollars."
They cite another example: "Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Obama nominee for Commerce Secretary who withdrew because of opposition to the Administration's agenda, is a senior member of the Health Committee. He disclosed owning $254,000-$560,000 in health stocks."
Weiner and Osserman note that In response to a question on health companies' influence at a July 28 news conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted, "The glory days of the health insurance industry are over. Their profits are obscene."
At the same news conference, responding to a question about CBO's repeatedly cited cost figures for reform, Pelosi confirmed that "of course CBO should" but did not measure and report consumer savings due to the legislation, not just government costs.
Weiner and Osserman conclude, "Opposition is stiffening from key business groups like the National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce, and Business Roundtable. Insurance companies they represent want the highest profit. The sooner we realize they're not on patients' side, the sooner the nation will achieve health care for all and save lives."
Link to article (short version): http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/sfl-rwcol-health-care-m081209sbaug12,0,2074341.story
Contact: Bob Weiner/Jordan Osserman 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates