Daschle Still Making Voice Heard On Health CareThe Hill reports that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle helped Obama Administration officials strategize to win health care reform votes from Senators on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Daschle, who announced this week that he was leaving Alston & Bird for another lobbying firm, DLA Piper, "is unexpectedly at the heart of Washington's highest-level negotiations at a key moment in the movement to reform the nation's healthcare system. The ex-senator has repeatedly stressed he did not lobby for Alston & Bird and will not lobby for DLA Piper, but government watchdogs have noted both firms have many healthcare clients. Daschle's title at DLA Piper will be 'senior policy adviser'" (Bolton, 11/18).
USA Today reports that Daschle's new firm "has a number of clients in the medical industry, including Rite Aid pharmacies and a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical firm called the Medicines Company that has spent $1.2 million on lobbying expenses with the firm so far this year" (Fritze, 11/18).
In the meantime, about $600 million has been spent on lobbying, advertising and campaign contributions to influence the health care debate this year, CNNMoney reports. "Reaching beyond the half-billion mark, the total spent on lobbyists, television ads and political donations is enough to pay the insurance tab for about 45,000 families a year."
On health care lobbying alone, nearly $400 million has been spent through Oct. 26 according to the Center for Responsive Politics. "The lobbying figure doesn't include lobbying by the Chamber of Commerce ($65 million) or AARP ($15 million), groups that have lobbied on health care, as well as other bills, including financial regulatory reform" (Liberto, 11/18). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.