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President Obama has blamed many factors for the stalling of his health care overhaul, from the recent special election in Massachusetts that deprived Democrats of their supermajority in the Senate to his own failure to better explain the legislation to the American people.
He has also prominently blamed lobbyists, taking them to task in his State of the Union address last week as he cited “special interests and armies of lobbyists and partisan politics.”
But what the president did not mention in his address was that many of those lobbyists actually worked to support his health care overhaul, not oppose it.
According to the story, health care and insurance lobbyists spent at least $648 million last year, a figure that is likely to go far higher. Even at that rate, spending by the sector came close to matching the entire annual gross domestic output of Grenada. “It’s the most money ever spent by a business sector for federal lobbying,” Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told the Times.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”