Last week, we highlighted an article in USA Today that explained how lobbyists are skirting federal campaign finance regulations by giving money to “honor” lawmakers. At the time, we wrote that it is an example of how corrupt the legislative process has become.
Now, there is another noteworthy example. Late last week, The Washington Post reported that most of the legislators drafting health care reform legislation have substantial investments in the sector:
Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer’s debate.
The list of members who have personal investments in the corporations that will be affected by the legislation — which President Obama has called this year’s highest domestic priority — includes Congress’s most powerful leaders and a bipartisan collection of lawmakers in key committee posts. Their total health-care holdings could be worth $27 million, because congressional financial disclosure forms released yesterday require reporting of only broad ranges of holdings rather than precise values of assets.
Rules for disclosing this information are limited and there are no rules that prevent members from having a financial interest in industries that they regulate.
Given that so many members of Congress profit from the health care industry, it’s no surprise that a single-payer health care system–which would create a government-sponsored insurance system–is largely off the table. a