Friday, October 23, 2009

Congress Paid In Full

Open Secrets (aka, The Center for Responsible Politics) and the Sunlight Foundation are publishing information on campaign donations received by health care lobbyists. There data seems to show that the politicians supporting the current round of health care reform are in fact the ones receiving the biggest donations.

This is counter to the talking point that the tea party patriots were paid in full by the health care lobby.

Not surprisingly, the donations heavily favor Democrats. The recipient of the most most lobbying cash was, not surprisingly, Democrat Max Baucus. Of course, there was a number of Republicans receiving big donations including Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Big medicine has always favored big government intervention in medicine, in reciprocation, big government consistently rewards big medicine with big programs that systematically drive wedges between patients and their doctors. My last post pointed out that the health care reform effort failed to address the monopoly status granted to HMOs until after a group of healthcare lobbyists made a peep against a provision in the Baucus bill.

The health care reform bill before Congress did not start with a frank discussion about what is good and bad in our healthcare industry, it has, from the start, been a purely political effort with politicians rewarding friends and punishing enemies.

My experience with local health care reform is that the efforts sysmtematically support big medicine at the cost of doctors and patients.

For example, Sermo points out that the American Medical Association (AMA) makes more money from its monopoly control of the Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes used in medical billing than it does from membership dues. Sean Hannity claimed the figures were in the hundreds of millions.

As insurance companies and HMOs set their re-insurance rates based on recommendations of the CPT, this set of codes essentially lays the foundation for wage and price controls in the medical world and is a primary reason for the break down in the pricing mechanism in the medical industry. Medicaid and the Insurance industry base re-imbursement on the CPT, and not the negotiation between patient and doctor.

The American Spectator claims the CPT to be the primary reason for the AMA's collaboration with the health care reform effort. It also shows that this reform is driven by power politics and is not being driven by the fundamental needs of the medical industry. Health care reform is being driven by a technocratic vision of health care being about codes flying back and forth between computers. Real reform would start with the realization that health is an attribute of biological beings, and would focus on enhancing human to human interactions.

The current health care reform effort has, from beginning to end, been a lobbyist driven effort to enforce a technocratic vision of health. The effort did not begin with any serious examination of the nature of health care. As such it is poised to simply continue the centralization process in health care at the cost of our individual liberties and at the cost of our real health.

As the current reform effort is fundamentally flawed, the best thing that could happen would be for it to implode, after which an authentic reform effort could start.

Below is a video sourcing the cash flowing into the hands of Senator Max Baucus and the army of lobbyists who wrote the Baucus health care reform bill.

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