Friday, September 4, 2009

Six lobbyists per lawmaker enough on health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Want to know why they're having trouble getting health care reform passed in Washington? Consider this: There are six…. count 'em — six, lobbyists for each of the 535 members of Congress.

This translates to 3,300 lobbyists working on health care — or three times the number who lobby on defense. These groups reportedly spent more than $263 million on lobbying during the first six months of this year — with drug makers alone spending more than $134 million.

One expert tells Bloomberg news: "The sheer quantity of money that's sloshed around Washington is drowning out the voices of citizens and the groups that speak up for them."

And let's talk about that money for a minute. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, health-related companies gave almost $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008.

Max Baucus — chairman of the Senate Finance Committee — got $3 million from the health and insurance industries from 2003 – 2008.

The ranking Republican on that committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, took in more than $2 million since 2003.

Over in the House — Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel received $1.6 million from the health sector and its employees in the last two years. And ranking Republican Dave Camp received almost $1 million in that time.

And this is just a few of them.

Here's my question to you: When it comes to health care reform, are six lobbyists for each member of Congress enough?

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