“When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during the signing of the healthcare law] and said to [President] Obama, ‘This is a big f’n deal,’ ” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, “he was right.”
Veterans of the healthcare push are now lobbying for corporate giants such as Delta Air Lines, UPS, BP America and Coca-Cola, and for healthcare companies including GlaxoSmithKline, UnitedHealth Group and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Ultimately, the clients are after one thing: expert help in dealing with the most sweeping overhaul of the country’s healthcare system in decades.
“Healthcare lobbying on K Street is as strong as it ever was, and it’s due to the fact that the Affordable Care Act seems to be ever-changing,” Adler said. “What’s at stake is huge. … Whenever there’s a lot of money at stake, there’s a lot of lobbying going on.”
RomneyCare was seventy pages long and involved very little government bureaucracy; ObamaCare was about 2,500 pages long and has a stack of regulations that reach the ceiling. These are not merely abstract complaints about the proper role of federal government or the issues with a long law; invariably, such laws will benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else. Simple laws that apply uniformly to everyone don’t require expensive lawyers or lobbyists. ObamaCare is almost designed to be a huge payoff to lawyers, lobbyists, and those wealthy enough to hire them: a byzantine system of regulations affecting every single business and individual in America, for which the executive branch will issue waivers to groups, unions, and businesses, as it sees fit. Oh, and the thing represents one-sixth of America’s economy, for a total of over a trillion dollars a year. Could you even design a better system for paying off the wealthy and influential?
As a human being who cares not just about the integrity of our political system, but about ensuring that Americans can access quality health care, I will also point out that every dollar spent on lobbying or attorneys is not being spent on health care. Conservatives talk a lot about ‘bang for the buck’ in health care policy, and this is a prime example of how huge amounts of money will be spent with absolutely no benefit to any actual person with an actual illness, or one who is merely seeking to avoid becoming ill.