Activists And Lobbyists Ramp Up Efforts In Possible Final Health Care Push
Politico: "In the absence of clear next steps, outside groups have stepped in to beat the drum, keeping time while the leadership meets behind closed doors to write the next movement. ... Progressive advocacy groups like Health Care for America Now and Families USA are organizing supporters and protests across the country, reminding Americans and lawmakers why inaction is unacceptable."
"HCAN plans to frame the final push as a struggle between the people dying because of a desperately broken system and the insurance companies that profit from the status quo." (Frates, 3/2).
The Washington Times: "Major players in the previous ad war, including overhaul supporters such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and AARP, are staying quiet for now. AARP pledged to reduce the political pressure on lawmakers with hopes that doing so would allow them to work together." Others are working actively against the effort, but "Wednesday's announcement from Mr. Obama is expected to send the debate in a new direction. A spokesman for one group that has already spent millions on advertising on the reform issue said they're in 'limbo' right now, awaiting the formal announcement of the Democrats' plans" (Haberkorn, 3/2).
Politico, in a separate article, reports more on lobbying: "America's Health Insurance Plans, which failed to reach a deal with the White House, has spent nearly $9 million trying to limit the damage to its industry. That money was supplemented by the efforts of individual companies. ... But despite all that largesse, the final blueprint presented by the White House last week fell short of what the industry insists is essential for gaining enough new customers to cover the costs of the sicker ones they can no longer turn away because of previous health issues. Meanwhile, PhRMA, the drug makers' trade group, has poured $26 million into a lobbying campaign to protect its deal with the Obama administration."
"With the clock ticking on health care reform, both the insurers and the drug makers are anxious to lean on lawmakers for changes in the legislation. But the extraordinary partisan climate that has dogged this Congress is now presenting one more lobbying oddity of the season: No one is certain when and how to proceed" (Cummings, 3/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.