Many Americans have come to realize that vested interests and career politicians have created a ruling class in this country: that is, a group of legislators who believe they’re exempt from laws that apply to the rest of the nation — laws those same legislators enacted. Meanwhile, career politicos focus only on reelection.
A chilling example of just how tainted the system has become is the recent announcement that the resignation of former Congressman Billy Tauzin as president, CEO and lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) “could deal a setback to President Barack Obama’s ability to overhaul the nation’s $2.5 trillion healthcare system”.
Tauzin, of Louisiana, served in Congress as a Democrat from 1972-95 and as a Republican from 1995-2005, when he joined PhRMA. According to lobbying expert James Thurber, “PhRMA played a key role [in the healthcare bill] and without Billy Tauzin, who is trusted by both parties… it doesn’t help the cause for getting the reform through.” All this dumfounds those who believe that legislation should be crafted either to accomplish what is right and good, or to stop bad actions and correct situations that harm the citizenry.
Healthcare reform makes sense to the many Americans who believe:
- that medical costs are out of reach for most hardworking Americans.
- that healthcare fraud should be stopped now ($120 billion is stolen every year from Medicare and Medicaid).
- that consumers need to be better informed, as Dr. Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton University has urged. Front-page newspaper stories recently touted Actos as a breakthrough drug to prevent diabetes, but there was no mention of a finding by Harvard’s Dr. Walter Willett that up to 90 percent of type II diabetes could be prevented by simple lifestyle changes.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2009 PhRMA spent $26,150,520 on lobbying. Does money have a bigger voice than that of the voters?