Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Well-Oiled Machine

The process isn’t broken, it’s working exactly as planned:

An analysis of public documents by Northwestern University’s Medill News Service in partnership with the Tribune Newspapers Washington Bureau and the Center for Responsive Politics found a revolving door between Capitol Hill staffers and lobbying jobs for companies with a stake in health care legislation.

At least 166 former aides from the nine congressional leadership offices and five committees involved in shaping health overhaul legislation -- along with at least 13 former lawmakers -- registered to represent at least 338 health care clients since the beginning of last year, according to the analysis.

Their health care clients spent $635 million on lobbying over the past two years, the study shows.

This just confirms what we already knew. The People’s Representatives, at least the ones who count, are in the tank for the insurance companies, and the insurance companies paid big bucks to keep them there. Their efforts paid off:

BOSTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Healthcare shares rose on Monday as a bill to reform healthcare passed the first critical test in the U.S. Senate, without many of the provisions, such as a government-run health insurance option, that investors most feared would hurt profits.

The S&P Healthcare Index .GSPA rose 1.4 percent, while the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor stock index .HMO rose 3.6 percent. The S&P Managed Health Care index .GSPHMO rose 4.6 percent.

“All in all, relative to the last version of health reform issued by the Senate, things have turned out pretty well for the health insurance industry,” said Carl McDonald, an analyst at Oppenheimer. “In particular, all versions of a government-run health plan have largely been eliminated.”

…Shares of Cigna rose 5.3 percent to $37.69. Shares of Aetna Inc (AET.N) rose 5.84 percent to $34.41. Humana Inc (HUM.N) rose 3.79 percent to $45.17 and United Health Group Inc (UNH.N) rose 5 percent to $33.14. Shares of Wellpoint Inc (WLP.N) rose 3.8 percent to $60.51.

Yes, sir, “things have turned out pretty well for the health insurance industry.” I never doubted they would. Tell your insurance company, if you have one, to wish your senators a holly jolly Christmas. You can be sure the message will get through (and that’s the only way you can be sure your messages will get through).

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