Industry Brings Promises To White House, Lobbyists To CapitolNPR continues its series on lobbying and the health overhaul: "...on May 11, health-care executives clustered around President Obama as he announced agreement on a savings package worth as much as $2 trillion. In the months since that show of unity, however, the industry executives have committed millions of dollars to lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers wrestle with the details of a health care overhaul. Moreover, the May 11 agreement and others negotiated by the White House and Senate Finance Committee have not been upheld by other Democrats on Capitol Hill. That has angered many of these executives and jeopardized the deals" (Overby and Seabrook, 7/28).
One way to hold industry groups and lawmakers to their promises would be to include a system of benchmarks in any law, Politico reports. "When the United States goes to war in Iraq or Afghanistan, the first cry for many is to establish benchmarks to measure progress. Why can't the same be done in health care reform, a huge social endeavor that will take years before it is up and running?" One example, proposed by Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., is that Congress impose surcharges on hospitals and other parts of the health sector if proposed savings targets are not met.
Politico continues, "It could prove cumbersome; as House Democrats held a marathon caucus meeting late Monday, there was still the hope of avoiding this choice. But benchmarks can also build understanding and support for the larger undertaking and are not a foreign concept for Congress or the health industry" (Rogers, 7/27).
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