Drugs and Deals: Lobbyists in Healthcare

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The healthcare industry spent more than $189 million on lobbying the federal government in 2007, up more than 32% from the year before. Over the past decade pharmaceutical interests alone have spent more than $1 billion on federal lobbying. We take a look at the sway healthcare lobbyist have over Congressional legislation, and what that might mean for the proposals of both Obama and McCain. Chris Frates is Lobbying Reporter for Politico; Bill Buzenberg is Executive Director of the Center for Public Integrity.


Bill Buzenberg and Chris Frates

Comments [5]


Lylum asks a great question. I can't think of a book that directly addresses this.

From my perception, it began with the originally small law firms c. 1900, like Covington & Burling, which do have a role representing businesses in DC. But now they've developed their techniques so that they rival gov in power.

And their main over-arching argument, which they have essentially won up to the Supreme Court, is that money is speech, thereby protected by the First Amendment.

According to Supreme Court decisions in the 70s, corporations have all the rights (but none of the liabilities) of individuals.

So corporations' bullhorns can legally drown out individuals trying to get a word in with their representatives.

There's a lot more to it than that, but just my 2 cents.

Oct. 29 2008 12:45 PM

Buzenberg's no slouch either.

If legalized bribery were a Fox News issue, you'd hear no end of it 24/7. Unfortunately, we don't really have a liberal-bias news media that would do that.

Great series, Leonard!

Oct. 29 2008 12:34 PM

Chris Frates is great. Unfortunately, the public perception of the death of the Clinton health care bill is just exactly the talking point the "Harry and Louise" commercials made: it was just too big, complex and unwieldy.

We need to hear more from Frates.

Oct. 29 2008 12:27 PM
Lilym from NJ

Lobbying IS legalized corruption. Outrageous. Why then elect officials, just let them sit with their friends from different lobbies and decide OUR fate. I am a foreigner and never really understood why is this allowed in "the most democratic country in the world".
When and why did it start?

Oct. 29 2008 12:26 PM
Phoebe from NJ

Interesting that drug companies lobby to keep cheaper exported drugs out, when they now do the majority of their manufacturing in India, China, Ireland and Singapore.

Oct. 29 2008 12:24 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.