You can’t tell the health-care lobbyists without a program. So The Washington Post, working with data from the Center for Responsive Politics, has come up with one just in time for the next round of health-reform negotiations on Capitol Hill.
More than 350 former congressmen, committee staffers and federal bigwigs are busily advancing the interests of drugmakers, insurers, hospitals and medical groups, the Post reports.
Buying influence is easy but it ain’t cheap. The Post calculates the “record-breaking” campaign is costing the health-care industry more than $1.4 million a day.
What does it get for the money? A seat at the table, for starters, and maybe much more. For their part, the ex-government employees get a pretty rich payday.
“For people like me who are on the outside and used to be on the inside, this is great, because there is a level of trust in these relationships, and I know the policy rationale that is required,” Richard Tarplin, a lobbyist working for the American Medical Association, told the Post. Tarplin used to work for Health and Human Services and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who’s a key player in the health debate.
If you do nothing else, check out the slick graphic showing the influence of ex-staffers from the Senate Finance Committee.