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September 3rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Six lobbyists per lawmaker enough on health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Want to know why they're having trouble getting health care reform passed in Washington? Consider this: There are six.... count 'em - six, lobbyists for each of the 535 members of Congress.

This translates to 3,300 lobbyists working on health care - or three times the number who lobby on defense. These groups reportedly spent more than $263 million on lobbying during the first six months of this year - with drug makers alone spending more than $134 million.

One expert tells Bloomberg news: "The sheer quantity of money that's sloshed around Washington is drowning out the voices of citizens and the groups that speak up for them."

And let's talk about that money for a minute. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, health-related companies gave almost $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008.

Max Baucus - chairman of the Senate Finance Committee - got $3 million from the health and insurance industries from 2003 – 2008.

The ranking Republican on that committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, took in more than $2 million since 2003.

Over in the House - Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel received $1.6 million from the health sector and its employees in the last two years. And ranking Republican Dave Camp received almost $1 million in that time.

And this is just a few of them.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to health care reform, are six lobbyists for each member of Congress enough?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dave from Rockville, Virginia writes:
It is amazing to hear that $263 million has been spent lobbying our elected officials on health care in just the first six months of this year. If that much money is being spent by organizations trying to gain influence, think about what the pay off must be if they get what they want.

Olu writes:
Six lobbyists? This is crazy, that’s why we’re getting nowhere. What happened to Obama keeping his promise about getting rid of lobbyists? I guess he needs to get down with this if something real is to be done.

Roz from Canada writes:
6 lobbyists? These senators are nothing more then whores for the medical insurance companies and big pharma. When will this be stopped? These fat cats live large while rolling the dice on the health and welfare of the citizens. Shame on them for their ugly greed and shame on the lobbyists. Ultimately though, the blame lies with the senators as they could say “no” to these vultures if they really wanted to.

Dale from Colorado writes:
With Congress on the take, and I can only wonder why it requires six lobbyists to bribe each member, it's no wonder that Congress isn't making any significant progress on health care reform. Conservatives, Blue Dog Democrats, and the other paid sock-puppets are deliberately obfuscating the salient truths about a public option and real reform as that best serves their selfish interests and the selfish interests of the status quo.

John from Clemson, South Carolina writes:
Jack, If I had invested all those millions on certain members of Congress to protect my health care profits, I sure wouldn't trust them to be alone for a minute. I would hire 24 lobbyists per congressmen per day so a refreshed lobbyist was with them for each hour of the day. It’s really too bad that the people who need health care reform don't have the money to compete with the health care industry in buying off our congressmen.


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Lobbyists
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. jenny

    Jack,
    MORE THAN ENOUGH. No wonder there is so much trouble with the bill.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  2. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Nahhh… There should be hundreds of them per crook, ah I mean congressperson. That might be enough to keep them so busy that they wouldn’t have time to do any more damage to the country they are defrauding.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  3. g ontario

    the only way insurance company will be able to insure people with out health is with tax payer money tax payers pay now for unisured employers will not pay insurance when itgets to costly better to have public obtion to fall back on just in case

    September 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Don't forget that the "people that speak up" for us that the expert was talking about are lobbyists as well. Not all lobbyists are evil.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: It's time for healthcare if it takes 50 lobbyists per Congress Person. Who else could carry their big bags of money for the next election? Realy Jack who cares ,GET IT DONE!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  6. g ontario

    health care reform the best lobbist can buy

    September 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  7. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    Face it Jack. When their proffits are in danger the health insurance industry will do what ever it takes to keep the status quo. As far as they are concerned, the best interest of the American public can be hanged it is their proffits that count..... And to put a point on it, our "elected representives" are making a windfall profit from the situtation......

    September 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  8. Tina Tx

    No wonder things are in a crappy state. They need to open the doors and throw the bums out and not let them come back, EVER. And when you get through with your term as being a Senator you have to wait 10 years or more before you are allowed back on the steps of Congress. The little man ain't got a chance, do we?

    September 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  9. Jackie in Dallas

    Jack, not only enough, but too much! This is where the obvious distortions of what is in the health care bills are coming from...special interest groups who have the most to lose if pharmacological companies are regulated, if insurance companies are regulated, or if there are common sense limitations placed on what doctors/hospitals/other health care facilities can do or not do.

    If they'd farm that money into improving hospital facilities for the uninsured/underinsured, research into common illnesses, and making essential medications available on a sliding scale by what you can afford to pay, we'd all be healthier!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  10. Gus from California

    For years, we have permitted big Pharma to make obscene profits. For this, we have seen that money go to corrupting our government systems, both Congress and the regulators. Bribery of doctors, fraud on Medicare, etc. ad nauseum. We have to find a way to regain control after having given it away. Won't be easy, because they now control the very mechanics that should be disciplining this industry.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  11. Jenna

    When it comes to health care reform, are six lobbyists for each member of Congress enough?

    Why do we have ANY lobbyists when it comes to Health Care?

    Health Care should be NOT FOR PROFIT

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    September 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  12. Conor in Chicago

    You make it sound like a bad thing Jack. Just think about what these great Americans are doing for the homeless of the DC area! Some pay as much as $15 an hour cash told hold their place in line while they go drink scotch with our representatives and laugh about how they collectively own the United States. And then they make speeches on the floor of congress and meet their lobbyists for dinner and laugh it all off while the homeless guy getting the $15 an hour eats fast food because he's poor and worries about that pain in his chest as he's going to bed. It's a win-win Jack-don't be so negative!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  13. John from Alabama

    Jack: Special interest for all related health care industry is like the water that flows down the Mississippi River. It is way to much and sometimes it floods. These lobbyist do not respresent the tax payers or the working poor. They represent the wealthy health insurance companies and medicine companies that have made profits above anything else. These companies sell stocks and give a great deal in the way of political contributions. They do not want government, because government health care would do away with the term "pre-existing condition" and make all those who provide health care responsible.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  14. Phil-North Central Washington

    Far as I'm concerned, we should marshall ALL lobbyists in one building and launch a B-52 arc light directly overhead. No wonder health insurance is so expensive!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  15. gordon

    This obsession with lobbyists–how many, their dastardly ways–detracts from the fact that every organization–city, state, museum, non-profit, for profit, association, you name it–lobbies for issues of interest.

    The suggestion that lobbyists are all ne'er-do-wells is a lie. The suggestion that Congress is too dumb to consider the worth of lobbyists proposals is a slap at the stupidity of the voters who elected them.

    Las Cruces, New Mexico

    September 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  16. Jayne

    Come on, Jack. It takes a minimum of 6 just to get all the checks written out. If only the people could afford to buy votes like that.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Carl D.

    Jack,
    Didn't Obama say he was going to stop the lobbyist, influence on our congress, thats just another one of his lies. Congress doesn't care about the people, they only care about lining there pockets with more money than they can spend in one life time.
    Carl in Illinois

    September 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  18. Randy from Salt Lake City

    Depens upon who you ask, Jack. Ask an average person on the street and he'll say it's way too many, but if you ask your typical congresscritter, he or she will say that lobbyist are good for our democracy. See, more lobbyist means more bribery money, more drugs, more hookers for each criminal in Congress. My only hope is for the BRIC countries to dump the dollar. Then all of that bribery money will be worthless.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  19. Russ in PA

    Hang 'em high... It was good for the movie, it would be good for lobbyists.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  20. Michael Stallworth, Mobile, AL

    Apparently so, Jack. But i think the bigger question is whether the members of Congress sell their soul to these people when they take their money. So many members on both sides have taken their money, but not all have sold their souls when it comes to legislation.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  21. Birddog in Mississippi

    How many lobbyists does it take to screw the American people? One - as long as he has a big chunka change in his pocket & the health Insurance companies obviously have a mountain of change or we would have gone to a single payer system a long, long. time ago.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  22. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Even if the flood of insurance and drug company money wasn't drowning out the voices of the people, 40% of people are aligning themselves with the very corporations that are killing them off by denying coverage that has been bought and paid for. That, Jack, is the epitome of too stupid to live.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  23. Mike in St. Paul

    Those figures still seem a bit high. You'd think because of the state of the economy you'd be able to buy your government at sub-prime rates.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  24. Alex in Seattle

    It just goes to show that we have the best government money can buy. Too bad I don't make enough "speech" to have a voice in my own government. I wonder, Jack, how did bribery become legal?

    September 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  25. moe highland village tx

    Since President Obama was going to get rid of the Lobbyists, what was the ratio of Lobbyists during Clinton's terms ??

    September 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  26. Dan - Eustis, florida

    I am surprised there are only six. Our elected Officials have their hands
    out more than a Panhandler. The Republicans like Senator "snake in the" Grassely and Senator " the means justify the " Enzi have lied, cheated and done everything to insure the continued success of private
    health insurance. No one in Washington including President Obama
    wants to upset the apple cart for the greedy health insurance lobby. This
    is America land of the free and home of crooked Politicians. Eventually
    we'll wake up. I just hope it isn't to late.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  27. Paul Austin, Texas

    Six are way to many. That is what is wrong with our system. The health care industry really do not want any change or does the insurance companies. The problem with our system is the health care and drug industries are not properly billing their services and insurance companies on average pay only about on third of the bill and they accept that unless you have no insurance then you have to pay the full bill for services. Something is just plain wrong and reform is needed soon. But when I was young and in school the teachers never told us of the evil doers the lobbyist and now there are so many if our representatives listen to them all nothing will get done and I think that is their ture goal.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  28. Rob from New York

    Jack, we've got to track every member of congress listing who's buttering their bread, and publish it right before the elections. On healthcare, we're already spending the money as a nation, I'd rather see it going to medical staff and laboratories than paper-pushing fatcats. Republicans always say how great this country is and that we can do anything, so why as a nation aren't we smart enough to figure this out? Would Jesus worry about pre-existing conditions?

    September 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  29. Trueman - Toronto, Ontario

    Hi Jack,
    The lobby system is the single most archaic and crooked aspect of American society. Sure, business needs a voice in government, but do the politicians involved even realize they're being bought like cattle? The lobbyists sure do.
    The GOP is carrying on about "socialist" health care being the "end of democracy," then it turns around and accepts the proverbial briefcase full of cash from insurance companies. When capitalist lobbies take the ear of government away from the people, THAT is the end of democracy. Why don't more freedom-loving Americans have a problem with this?
    Trueman, in Toronto, Ontario

    September 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  30. Mike from Denver

    Enough for whom? I think it has been working pretty good so far for the health care industry. As for the citizens, I have not heard from their side, but as soon as they can afford a lobbiest of their own, I will let you know.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  31. Kim in mpls

    Jack you really know how to make me mad. These damn politicians just love this frenzy over them... why would you vote against the one who feeds you!

    It's completely unethical, in fact more so than Wall Street's greed. With Wall Street you were talking about one's money for retirement, with congress we're talking about ruining this country forever.

    We pay for their healthcare and then we pay again through higher premiums for the lobbying efforts. I use to be a republican, now I despise what they stand for. Jack if you must inflame me I have to ask that at least publish the numbers for all to see, who is recieving what and from whom.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  32. Tim Orlando - California

    The way I see it, lobbyists are here to stay, at least in my lifetime. Here's the bottom line: The U.S. pays about twice as much as most industrialized nations and has one of the highest infant mortality rates. If we don't get serious about fixing the health care system, only the wealthy will be able to afford it and the rest of us will end up in emergency rooms, ultimately bankrupting this nation.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  33. Mike, in Gastonia, NC

    It's disgraceful. Judging from the town hall furor during August, it's pretty obvious what the lobbyists were doing with that $263 million. Equally obvious on the legislative front is what that $170 million bought.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  34. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, this is just more proof that we have the best government that money can buy.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  35. Joe CE

    It would be good to eliminate paid lobbyists. At a minimu, we need to keep lobbyists out of the Captiol and congressional offices while Congress is in session.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  36. Matt in Minneapolis

    I think there are way too many lobyiests, but that's not the problem. It's too many partisian politicians on both sides. A congresman from the DNC can get 1,000 calls saying don't go for the health care bill and he still will vote for it because he's toeing the party line...Same goes the other way. The fact that congressmen fake being beholden to their constitutents for 6 months every two years is whats wrong with the system, not the lobbyists.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  37. Brian

    Jack,

    Killing major health insurance reform: $500 million a year.
    Spreading lies and misinformation through astroturf fear campaigns: priceless.

    Brian
    Boise, ID

    September 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  38. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    The phrase socialists government has been used a lot especially in the healthcare debates. I would like to know what kind of government it is called when you have six lobbyists for each congressman telling them which way they want them to vote. Or to be more blunt buying their vote. I think this is one of the main reasons why our gov't is in the shape that it is in. The average Joe has no lobbyist representing him. Big business and the rich are running our country. The Congress are puppets on a string. Laws need to be changed and the lobbyist will not allow that to happen. The only answer is for the voters to vote the Congress out of office and get people in that will represent them and change laws on how much influence a lobbyist can have. But like someone once said good luck with that.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  39. Emden (Deep in the Heart of Hurst Texas)

    Jack,

    We here in Texas have always held a six pack in high regard.

    It illustrates our readiness
    and
    does not impede our mobility.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  40. Tom Huntington, NY

    That's six lobbyists too many Jack. All lobbying should be banned. We will never have a responsible government as long as this goes on. Didn't we learn anything from the Abramoff fiasco?

    September 3, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  41. Rob in Riverview FL

    Jack, thanks for digging into this. Health care reform is NOT about getting better health care for us citizens, its all about protecting the almighty dollar for those who get RICH off of health care.
    I believe our President actually is trying to do the right thing for everyone, but that bucks the system, the money and greed of the special interests. What I do NOT understand is the number of citizens who are falling for this crap.....is this really a failing of our educational system, that people cannot see what is in there face? Do we want to pay premiums for as long as we are healthy, and loose coverage when we are sick? Do we want treatments denied? Do we really want to let them get away with pre-existing conditions? Wake up America? Are we really this stupid?

    September 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  42. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    That's too bad Jack but that's the way our world is so we might as well get on with something that we can change, like the position of the sun.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  43. Jim S

    Jack, this is absolutely disgusting and the very reason why it appears that our elected officials totally ignore the will of the people when they vote on legislation. Lobbyists are nothing more than those who are guilty of bribery and those senators who vote for these people's agendas are no better than common criminals. Unless we limit the amount of access that lobbyists have to elected officials and demand more transparency, we will lose our country to special interests who will destroy it.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  44. ken jefferson city mo

    Jack, if they wanted real change lobbyist would be against the law
    but, money talks and bulsh!! walks.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  45. GWTripp

    Its not the quantity of lobbyist, but the quality that matters. After about a million or so dollars, we are starting to talk about some real money. It's a shame that every Congressman and Senator can't all get multi-million dollar bonuses like their co-hearts on Wall Street. With all the hard work they do on behalf of their lobbyists, they are certainly worth it.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  46. Simonsays/Orlando

    It would be nice if congress would represent their constituants for a change rather than their lobbyists. Or maybe we should just stay out of it altogether and have their lobbyists vote them in or out in the next election.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  47. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    I'ts the reason the people are not heard on any issue. Most of these lobbyists are former members of the Congress, who have left with their great retirements, and now are milking the system.
    It's one of the problems with our system of Government. Nobody said it was perfect.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  48. Dennis

    Jack, Rule #1: These folks in Congress & the Senate are supposed to be working FOR the PEOPLE! not the Lobbyists nor the Corporations nor the Healthcare Insurance Companies! If we ever want to REALLY CHANGE the way Washington works, this madness has got to END! I say ANY politician, on either side who's #1 priority is not the PEOPLE of America should be driven from office. Our Country is going into the crapper because so many politicians are in the pockets of the Lobbyists,Corporations and Healthcare Insurance Companies.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  49. Bob Pomeroy

    Jack, give us interpolated poll results showing support/opposition by those affected, ie, rather than including present medicare/medicaid beneficiaries like myself. Is it unfair to assume that we will not be affected since that seems to be the plan? If so, why are we being counted as for or against a plan which will not affect us?

    September 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  50. steve in Florida

    Jack, It's enough alright. Enough to make you sick to your stomach. They aren't there to advocate for better protections for the Average American. All that money is being spent to deregulate and remove protections. To avoid delivering services. Period. I can throw a rock from my front lawn and probably hit someone with a healthcare tale of disaster. Its outrageous.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  51. Molly B

    Tama, IA

    More than enough!!!!! What in the world can be done to stop this?
    I think the politicians need to suck in their guts, straighten
    their backbones and be honest with their constituents. Then
    tell the lobbyists sorry but I need to support my constituents and
    pass the health reform bill. I am as bitter with the pols as I am
    with the health care industry.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  52. Eric in Texas

    The contribution amounts are staggering. No wonder most in Congress admit they haven't read the bill and no wonder Congress disagrees with the American Public which opposes the public option. The lobbyist money has already made up their mind for them!

    September 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  53. pat in lexington, Ky.

    This just makes me sick!! We need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and send these loobyists over in their place. Sometimes I really don't understand how someone as old as I am can occasionally get hopeful again. But it still happens, fool that I am. I was hopeful about Obama, and about health insurance reform. I should know better.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  54. Peg from NY

    That is 6 lobbyists too many for each member of Congress regarding healthcare reform.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  55. Al, Lawrence KS

    $263 million for lobbying...$170 million for campaign contributions...and all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, I can't afford my $250 a month asthma medication. We should be screaming, yes screaming, to reform this system. It has become so warped, it's almost beyond belief.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  56. Amber - Austin, TX

    I thing the lobbyists need to be outlawed. Clearly this is not what our founding fathers envisioned!

    September 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  57. Boomer in Mo

    Of course all the money has influence because campaign laws allow politicians to convert the donations to their own personal use. We have the best Congress money can buy. Health care reform will not happen because the lobbyists for the insurance industry, doctors, hospitals and drug companies will buy everyone in Congress off, regardless of party.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  58. Vince in Michigan

    Wow
    Imagine if all that money from all the lobby groups and all the executive bonuses were to be put back into the health care system, I think it would pay for health care for all and there might be some left for a cure for cancer. Talk about a waste of money.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  59. commonthinker Illinios

    Great question Jack:
    This kinda makes you think what could really be accomplished if they didn't allow congress or the senate to accept lobby money. How many great things would be passed for the good of the people and not the good of the politicians pocket. OMG working for the American People what a novel concept.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  60. Heath Missoula, Montana

    Six lobbyists per member of Congress is ridiculous!! Especially lobbyists for for-profit groups should be limited in their ability to influence a member of Congress. You would think that our elected officials would be protecting the best interest of their constituants; but, I gotta tell you Jack, it makes me nervous to think that my Montana Senator Max Baucus might put insurance or pharmaceutical industry interest before the best interest of Montanans and other Americans.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  61. Sandra in Arkansas

    The only lobbyist that should ever be allowed to speak to our Senators and Congressmen should be their constituents. They are there for the good of the citizens...not big corporations and their own pocketbooks or those of their relatives and friends. Health care should be non-profit ,and if it were so, there would be no need for any lobbyist and ,therefore, more money to provide adequate health care to Americans.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  62. Gigi

    I think we found the money for health care. Now if the people would pressure their Representative to give up that lobby money or lose their seat. And sue the lobbyist for greasing the hand of our Representatives...Health Care would be in the bag. Do you think we could find 6000 voters to one, who really cared about health care.

    Please print all the names of those receiving money for killing health care. That would really be honest journalism.

    Oregon.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  63. Darren

    No. They should double their efforts to bribe our elected officials into doing their bidding, as opposed to doing the people's bidding for their measly salary that we pay for, and pass those additional costs onto the consumers.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  64. Kiki in Omaha Ne

    Jack I thought corruption is illegal in this country or how different is lobbying from corruption?
    That's why nothing will never ever get donne to favor we the people that put them in office because they are busy helping the big corporations to screw us and since a lot of people are so blind in this country and will believe any lie and got scared easily this will be going for generations to come until the american is no longer a super power.
    Do know why socialist countries hate pure capitalism because capitalism leads to greed and exploitation of the poor by the rich.
    China already realize you need to mix the two system to have efficiency. The result is now obvious they owe 3/4 of out national debt and growing very fast when we are busy building weapons of mass destruction and promoting wars all over the globe.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  65. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Jack,
    Only six? Hmmm.... I guess it is true then that employment is a lagging indicator.

    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    September 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  66. Sam in Florida

    Enough? You would think so, but some of these politicians in Washington never get enough.
    The time for lobbyists to get out of Washington is long over due.
    How much longer will our government allow these company execs. to bribe our congressmen into making the laws suit their needs?
    Maybe it is also time that we establish 2 year term limits.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  67. Richard McKinney, Texas

    More then enough but Jack didn't Obama run under the campaign of change and reform for government? President Obama announced that lobbyists wouldn't be allowed in his administration and nominated a defense lobbyist to be deputy Secretary of Defense. It is not surprising that there are 6 lobbyists for each member of congress. There is big big money in healthcare. More then in wars. America will not always have a war going on but they will always have sick people needing healthcare. Politicians and lobbyists are dependent on one another and the American people are on their own.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  68. JWC in Atlanta

    I propose we cap the lobby to lawmaker ratio in terms of dollars. That way the total hard cash amout of personal benefit to each lawmaker is the same, whether one lobbyist to one or fifty to one. I further propose that amount of benefit to each lawmaker's' reelection warchests etc. be five cents per year. That way we can all feel like we're getting our money's worth.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  69. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    Sure reminds us how puny our millions of constituants' voices are. With the polls showing that most Americans support a public option, and the millions of uninsured, can this still be called a representative democracy?

    September 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  70. Don Wilson

    A fascinating contrast in numbers. Six lobbyists are "a drop in the bucket" compared to the hundreds [or thousands] of constituents in each congressperson's district. Sadly, it seems increasingly obvious that the priorities of the lobbyists capture both the attention and the vote of the congressperson and not those of the constituents.
    Don Wilson
    Overland Park, Kansas

    September 3, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  71. Ed from Southwest Colorado

    Absolutely not... there should be at least 10 per congress person. We surely wouldn't want all that insurance premium money going to waste on the folks who are sick and needing some doctor or hospital coverage.... those people should just be dropped from the policies they have paid into for years. What the heck, let them simply go bankrupt or die.

    And I am also very happy that the money is flowing so well to those needy people in congress. Those poor pathetic people are so misunderstood.

    This is government corruption in its finest moment. Vested interests outgunning the American people. Whoopppeee, we are all gonna get screwed in the end.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  72. Pat Vaughn

    Jack, obviously (now) the first move by the President should have been "Campaign Finance Reform". Removing the need for bribes (bought votes) from Lobbyists, maybe our "representatives" would be free to actually vote in favor of Health Care for all Americans for instance, instead of protecting an income for their own re-election. You know what "those who will do anything for money" are called, don't you? We sure have a house full of 'em!

    Pat, Crossville, TN

    September 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  73. frank

    I think any one who took a bribe should go to jail
    and that is what it is a BRIBE

    September 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  74. Irv lilley

    Jack, When you have 6 lobbyists for every congessmen, do we need any more explanation why healthcare costs are out of control?
    Get rid of the lobbyists and you will solve the healthcare problem.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  75. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Too early to tell Jack. We will know the answer to that question when a bill reaches the desk of the president.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  76. Remo, Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, the better question is: Should there be term limits set for both Houses?

    September 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  77. Dale,,,IOWA

    This is exactly what is wrong with booth houses to many lobbyists,, as we say follow the money,, now if we had a federal program we would not have lobbyists money to give to our elected reps... just maybe we would get their best interests at heart,, and not corporate America's,,. its all about the dollar,,..

    September 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  78. Ken in Mt

    As one of Max's constituants I feel it's too many by 51/2 at least , considering that they are all there to make sure that their backers ox won't get gored. If you want to know where your left over health insurance premiums go there is a deep sink of money there.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  79. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: No, I don't think we need more--when corporate money talks--it can get a lot done with minimum people.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  80. Chad from Los Angeles

    Thank you Jack, this is what we need to be questioning our lawmakers about. It should be stated next to their yay or nay vote how much money they took from the health care industry to influence their vote.

    The President needs to call out these lawmakers who act like they care for reform but then get financial support from the industries who sabatoge it!

    September 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  81. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    Jack
    The numbers speak for themselves with 1 Doctor for evey 400 Americans This means less than 1 doctor for each of the 535 congresional demographic. What America Needs is 6 Doctors for each Congresional member and one lobbyist for every 4.000.000 Americans
    It's All About the Money that all Americans donate in the form of standard of living What we pay daily with blood sweat and tears just to be Americans..

    September 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  82. CArol Morrissette

    I keep hearing about health care polls and town hall meeting and how we, the people, don't want health care reform. I wonder how many of these screaming idiots who are against health care, are themselves without health care, UMM? Maybe there should be a poll of people who don't have any health care to hear their ideas about reform. I'll bet the polls would show that 99.9% of the uninsured want a universal health care option. In Michigan Blue Cross/Blue Shield just increased their rates between 10 and 20 %. I know because I just got the letter today and I have health care through my teacher retirement plan. It's time that we start thinking about all of humanity and not just ourselves. We voted in a Democratic President and Congress for a reason; now they need to get it done.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  83. RJ from Lake,MI

    This is the problem why some claim they cant afford health insurance. I`ve noticed one thing for the most part the people crying saying they want this health care reform are not the poor, they are already provided with better health care than I have and I pay for mine. The people crying for this public option are the ones who really could afford their own insurance but that would take them giving up their car payment, cable tv, cell phone, you know the stuff you should sacrifice so you can afford insurance. Nobody wants to give these things up for their health care so I dont feel sorry for them. They will say why should I have to go without, well I`ll tell you why you should have to go without, because you dont make enough money to have everything you want and health care should be a priority over cell phones and car payments and nights out at the bar! These people should be ashamed of themselves! Thinking I should pick up the tab for something they dont want to pay for! Lets lobby for drug and insurance reform!

    September 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  84. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    Obviously three is too much. Healthcare reform is important and necessary for all Americans. It is sickening to realize that private healthcare insurance providers will spend unlimited funds to stop reform and limit our access to needed healthcare coverage. Your introduction points out everything that is wrong with Congress these days.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  85. Mickey

    i am an idependent from Springfield, Mo. and i don't know where you stand on the Fair Tax but it seems to me, from what i unserstand is that it would cure a multitude of congressional ills, such as getting rid of said lobbists, a consumption tax would put peoples pay checks back into their own pockets, allow them increased buying power, take care of the
    "wealth envy" problem, make persons both visiting "legally and ill-legally" participants in our tax system, cure the Medciare and Social Security problems and make us all more responsable in how we purchase products and save our money, i think i would require all politicains to put donations from the health care industry lobbyist into a "lock box" pool that would pay for a health care program for those who have lost their jobs and can't afford the cost while they look to re-establish their status as "employeed" workers supporting their families and their government...

    September 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  86. concern denver Co

    Money has been the reason for the housing crisses and the means behind wall street greed. greed has placed the usa in it's recession so why would we think healthcare to be any different

    September 3, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  87. Bernard Portet

    I thought that Candidate Obama had said during his campaign that he would deal with this excess of Lobbyist. Hopefully he gets to do something about it.
    What about our Representatives? the House Majority Speaker? Do they not have the guts of their own opinions and stand for what is best for the majority of us rather than for their reelection objectives? Where is Nancy Pelosi in this struggle? Isn't she supposed to help the President reach across the aisle and rally her troops? Where is her Leadership? Because of the lack of such, the Lobbyists have had a great summer and may succeed. What apity it would be for the USA.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  88. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Maybe people will now wake up to the fact that we have great need of major campaign finance reform. These are the same people that say, they are supporting the members of congress, but not telling them what to do. They then assign each congressional aide a personal lobbyist so as to tell them to tell the congressmen exactly what to do.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  89. Pamela holt

    Pam holt, foley, al. this is why when we someone running for congress, we know it,snot for an honorable cause,to benifit the people,but after having observed the other members of congress in action, to pad their pockets and build their own empires. Yes, 6 lobbyists per member in congress should be enough witnesses in a court of law, to hang their behinds.......

    September 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  90. paul westminster maryland

    Within 60 days of GWB's first inauguration the house passed a bill reforming the bankruptcy laws. Not a single republican and only about half the democrats voted against it. At the time the financial lobbyists were lining our pols pockets. When all the republicans vote against any form of health care reform, joined by some democrats, the American people can again thank a system that allows so many bums to congregate in such a small area, the halls of congress.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  91. Sam New Castle, PA

    That number in itself is a shame. Even worse is the number of ordinary citizens who are either ignorant to that fact, or just plain don't care. Even more worse is the number those who say simply,"That's government for ya." and think there is nothing that can be done.
    You know, Jack, i think it is an absolute shame.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  92. Rockville Dave

    It is amazing to hear that $263 millions have been spent lobbying our elected officials. If that much money is being spent by organization trying to gain influence, think about what the pay off must be if they get what they want. I didn’t send my Senators to DC to be influenced by money (I didn’t send them, by the way. I voted for the other guy). The people should be heard, not just the 3,300 lobbyists.

    Dave in Rockville, VA

    September 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  93. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    Clearly, six lobbyists for each lawmaker is plenty if not way to many.I also think that the dollars involved as a result of this legislation are a direct cause of this lobbying. Having been involved in defense procurement for a number of years I also know how much pressure these lobbyists can bring to bear on the lawmakers. The emphasis for the average citizen in these type of circumstances is that you need to insure you politely contact your representative to make certain you pass on your viewpoint. That is the main way that the voters can insure that what gets passed by Congress is what the voters desire.. Personally I have contacted my representatives five or six times already and will do so again if I think it's necessary

    September 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  94. Geri - Mead, Ok

    It seems to me that the health insurance and medical lobbies are spending far too much money on our Senators and Representatives. I thought you could buy our Congressmen & women for far cheaper than that.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    September 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  95. Jack Martin in Florida

    Jack
    Apparently six is enough. First the congress comes up with an unnecessarily complicated bill with a few "poison pills" thrown in by the Republicans who then say they will vote no in any case. Money talks and you know what walks. A simple overhaul would do but the congress is too simple minded to be intelligently simple.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  96. frankie

    Thanks, I never knew that before. President Obama is really wading right through this mess, I guess we'll have to be patient it could take awhile.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  97. george charles paree

    they cant wait to spend our money its a drug to congress

    September 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  98. Jay in Texas

    Lobbyists should be outlawed. Members of Congress are elected to serve we the people and not to sell us out to giant corporations. Your comments make it clear that big money is not only being spent to fight Obama's health care proposal but is also being given to Democrats who support it. Like I've been saying all along, this is not health care "reform". It is simply another gigantic giveaway to the health care corporations. We need Single Payer, not-for-profit health care that will serve every American and we need it now.
    Brownwood, Texas

    September 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  99. S, Michigan

    Jack, Our constitution says Lobbying is ok, so 6 or 60 is ok. The issue should be what are the 6 lobbyists doing for or to the congressmen....it doesn't matter how many, it's what they do (or are asked to do that needs to be controlled well- good luck!).

    September 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  100. Bob Pittsburgh, PA

    Six lobbyists should be enough to make sure that after "health care reform" there's plenty of tax payer dollars flowing into the businesses that hire lobbyists.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  101. Ed in RI

    Jack;
    This country will never have a national health care plan, because of all the lobby money that the huge insurance industries dedicate to propaganda campaigns, and keeping their "status-quo".
    It's too bad that the average citizen doesn't realize what a "for profit" insurance company is. They address their shareholders, before their policy holders, to maintain a profit margin. Imagine how Ralph Nader feels about this.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  102. Pete

    When are the Dems going to get a backbone. They won the elections !!! This means we, the American Public ,had are voices herd, and want a change. We want affordable health care!! All this talk about wanting government out of our Health care is obviously republican sour grapes.
    Who is the first people you call when your really sick 911 paramedic paid for by us, the American people (Goverment) .You have Medicare,(for the elderly and disabled) Medicaid,(for the extremely poor) V.A( for are amazingly brave veterans). and schip (for the Children).All government run. How about something for the average guy like me!
    My Insurance bill is $1700 a month through cobra that's $20,400/year for a family of 5. The republicans should be part of the solution not lie to the American people. Death panels come on enough already!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  103. bob brost

    Jack.....another sign of "corporate america" ruining democracy.
    Capitalism is the best way to live but, crooked politicians are ruining the greatest country on earth........and the GOP is on the take.
    Hopefully our current President will have the stones to do the right thing and clean-up the congress and senate.

    I live in Canada and ....the world needs a good honest USA....otherwise we are all ^%$$#@#&(* !

    the other bob brost
    owen nsound ontario

    September 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  104. John

    Jack, if I had invested all those millions on certain members of congress to protect my health care profits, I sure wouldn't trust them to be alone for a minute. I would hire twenty four lobbyists per congressmen per day so a refreshed lobbyist was with them for each hour of the day.

    Its really to bad that the people who need health care reform don't have the money to compete with the health care industry in buying off our congressmen - just a shame!

    John
    Clemson, SC

    September 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  105. C.K. of Colorado

    Lobbyists are a problem, and even one is too many! They cater to crooked politicians, undermine our freedom, and take away choices for those of us who only have a voice over money. How can we ever forgive them for that? Imagine the damage that 6 can do.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  106. K

    If we, the employers of Congress, had the money the lobbyists are pouring into Washington to derail health care reform we would have a fighting chance. Make congress have the SAME insurance coverage of an average LEGAL American. A six member panel is a joke. Prisoners, congress and illegal aliens get better health care than the taxpaying citizen. Disgraceful!!!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  107. george

    If a congressman wants my vote he should not be paling around with lobbists, good, or bad, or for any reason. It is his job to represent the people in his district, and that means even the ones who did not vote for him. It is no secret that lobbists are not among my favorite people in the capitols, and congress people should be held to the pledge that they took when they became congressmen, and women. et them no that they can also be recalled !!

    September 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  108. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Thanks Jack for reminding me why my nausea will not go away! I and all of us better start praying and hope we see the light...!

    September 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  109. Bill in Sacramento, CA

    Jack, there are good lobbyists like the AARP and there are corporate interests looking after their own interests. The problem lies when our representatives listen to these corporate interests above the voice of their constituants.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  110. rlandschoot

    Let's see, how many drug detailers are pushing drugs to doctors. Do they detail pharmacies? Nope. There are two drug pushers in this country, legal and illegal, and both are equally bad. Guns and bullets spred latter, insurance companies spred the former. Sad. All are looking for something, and are willing to spend money, or have governement give it to them. Ho boy

    bobl pine city ny

    September 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  111. Allen L Wenger

    More than enough. In fact, this is the problem. When you have this many lobbyists all promising "perks" and campaign contributions, it makes it too hard for them to decide what will benefit them the most. The best result for the people has to take a back seat to what will be best for the elected official, because he can't help us if he isn't re-elected.

    Mountain Home ID

    September 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  112. patrick in michigan

    well Jack. it depends on whether you can squeeze all 6 lobbyists and a congressman in the same jail cell. Business as usual. the congress cares about the needs of the people as long as the money in their slush fund doesn't dry up.
    this is supposed to be a govt. of the PEOPLE...NOT THE CORPORATIONS.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  113. Bob White, Kansas

    Enough! Are you crazy? I'd say one lobbyist is "one too many." Yes, citizens have a Constitutional right to petition their elected government, but that should be limited to those who are entitled to vote. A huge error was made when the S. Ct. ruled that corporations have the same rights as citizens (persons). Huge error! And, now, corporations not only petition with many full-time, paid lobbyists, they also corrupt elections. US government is not, now, about the "citizens."

    September 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  114. Karen in Newark NJ

    The will of the people being undermined by lobbyists is going to destroy our democracy. Why in the world isn't major reform undertaken before it is too late?

    September 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  115. Ron from SF

    Yes and we should re-brand the Democrats who are against a public option as "Blue Cross Dogs". As you mention, Baucus leads the pack on largess taken, but he's definitely not alone. Guys, you can either look at the polls and understand that folks don't trust the insurance companies, and the loons they send to your Town-halls, or you can be out on your ear.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  116. Bruce St Paul MN

    The lobbyists represent a system that richly rewards companies for denying claims, cancelling coverage, and pricing companies and individuals out of the market. The system is so obviously immoral that there is no rational defense of it. But money talks and reform walks.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  117. j/NJ

    When it comes to health care reform, are six lobbyists for each member of Congress enough?

    Actually the more health related corporations and their lobbyist constituents contribute to political campaigns, the more control they have over individual policy holders and the more impressed the USSC's conservative majority becomes when deciding health related issues...fact is the conservative justices on the Court almost never rule in the citizen's best interest whenever it conflicts with the interest and profits of the health care industry...that is the power of American capitalism and American federalism, change it, unfortunately, and the republican majority will holler 'socialism' the best and only argument it can defend under the circumstances...what the American taxpayer needs is direct long term control over his/her health care in addition to more rather than fewer competitive choices; political reform is supposed to provide that, but alas the Washington establishment will never relinquish its authority if that means allowing the people to make free and independent decisions...

    September 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  118. Linda in Charleston, SC

    This no doubt is a trick question that embodies nothing more than anger. There is little wonder why we the American people suffer and die over the healthcare issue when this much money circulates while the average American either goes bankrupt or goes without healthcare. Our country is doomed. Our politicians are crooks and principles are lost. Jack you enjoy inciting anger or what?

    September 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  119. Steve

    Jack- It wouldn't be enough if 6,000 constituents per Congressman voiced their desire to have the Congressmen task with representing their best interest as opposed to the best interest of the Medical/pharmaceutical industries. If our legislature represented those who elected them, there could never be enough lobbyist to sway the best interest of the country as a whole.

    Steve
    Clifton, Va

    September 3, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  120. Dale from Colorado

    With Congress on the take, and I can only wonder why it requires six lobbyists to bribe each member, it's no wonder that Congress isn't making any significant progress on healthcare reform. Conservatives, Blue Dog Democrats, and the other paid sock-puppets are deliberately obfuscating the salient truths about a public option and real reform as that best serves their selfish interests and the selfish interests of the status quo. It's the best Congress that money can buy and their faithful sheep across the Country are buying into their propaganda as usual.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  121. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Jack,

    In some countries, this is called bribery. And you what??? It is bribery…plain and simple. And it is why our nation's Congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by wealthy special interest and corporate special interest. This is at the heart of why our Congress simply does not function properly. Congress needs to be totally gutted of politicians who are beholden to lobbyists and the almighty dollar and replaced by those who will actually be faithful to the voters.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    September 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  122. Jim

    If you spend any time at the Doctor you will notice a trim smart looking young woman toting a wheeled briefcase. The Doctor is about to be bribed to prescribe (with a few freebees) what is being toted around in the briefcase. Move on to the State Capitol where wantabe big time lobbiests are greasing the campaign funds of state legislators for favorable legislation on a wide variety of healthcare issues. Now move on to Washington DC where the bribe has now become milllions for each Congressman. And they listen and deliver! This is about haves and have nots. Its about the extreemly wealthy executives profiting from a bribe system of protection. The Healthcare Industry is probably the most corrupt business ever conceived, which is why it is so well sponsored in Washington DC
    Jim Los Angeles

    September 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  123. Jane (Minnesota)

    There's only 6 per – REALLY??????

    America – you are looking at the big reason Congress can't (or won't )do actually fix the health care problem the way it should be; greed! Just think of all those campaign contributions lost if they would actually do the right thing. Maybe congress should also fix lobbying as they fix health care. Or we need to send representatives to Washington that actually will sign a committment to reform lobbying rules.

    Disgusting!

    September 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  124. Nuwan Samaranayake

    That simply shows how rich people who makes millions, doing nothing good for America, controls our government. We the people elect them. They control them. Simply amazing.

    Nuwan from Houston, TX

    September 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  125. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Does it matter Jack, six or sixty, still nothing will get done. I say let them all wallow in thier own pool of ignorance until they drown.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  126. Michael in Albuquerque,NM

    They are going to need more after I get done with them.
    Every dollar the insurance companies spend on lobbyists and political representatinves is a dollar denied for the treatment of their clients. But, that is how they make a profit. Denial and bribery.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  127. Dan from Alliance, OH

    I am not rich or even middle class anymore. But I am willing to pay a flat tax that everyone will pay, no ins or outs or deductions to fund health care.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  128. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    The people need to understand that both the lobbyists and our representatives....have" expenses". They do not care who pays up, only that it is paid and preferably in advance. I think the vermin inside the beltway must know that the comet is going to thump us and they may as well live it up !

    September 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  129. Jim

    Jack,

    It is screamingly obvious that the Health Insurance industry is pulling out all of the stops to de-rail health care reform with hoards of lobbyists, gobs of political contributions, and a withering, non-stop array of lies and propaganda, all so they can maintain their obscenely high fees and their non-competitive strangle hold over Americans seeking health care. Why hasn't this first-rate scandal been the focus of media attention instead of the vocal few who disrupt town hall meetings?

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    September 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  130. Iris in L.A.

    Lobbying is nothing more than legalized bribery; true reform will never come until lobbying is illegal. Once again, the big money of big industry and special interest groups will quash anything that could possibly help the citizens and consumers of the US.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  131. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    That just makes me sick and I don't have health insurance. I guess I'll just be sick for a long time. Why didn't they do lobby reform first since they both campaigned for it? Unbelievable! What a democracy.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  132. Martyn Bignell

    These facts are with out doubt disgusting, all these people should be thrown out of office; they are their to work for us, instead they are their for themselves. They do not care that 20,000 people die a year due to inadequate health care, by the way that is the same as 6, 9/11's per annum. We have 46 million and rising with out any form of health coverage, and all they do is feed us propoganda and sadly a lot of people actually believe it; To all fellow Americans, the truth is out their, just get off the couch and go to a book store or on line and get the facts, America spends 16% of its GDP on health care now and we are ranked 37th in the World, the number one France only spends 9%, the individuals costs are also lower; please do not listen to some of these narsacistic lying republicans, sorry I do not do P.C.

    Martyn Bignell of Fort Lauderdale

    September 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  133. Susan in Ohio

    With six we should also be getting egg rolls! It's not only the lobbyists that want to derail any chance for a national health care system, but also the right-wing, fanatical, squeaky wheels that have managed to manipulate the media to their advantage. I say to these people, if you are so against a "socialistic government," then when it comes time to retire, you should gladly give up any claim ot medicare and social security. Else, you are a hypocrite!

    Susan
    Mansfield, Ohio

    September 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  134. jessie james

    Jack
    As a part of this nation–I want to know how we got here??? I am so confused that we send people to help us and then they seem to stab us in the back while we have just sat by watching them and saying no problem. well it's a problem my fellow american it is a big wapping problem. this problem is about 35 years old and it is a monster. this is not just a problem to this country it is a threat to our very existence. those companies which are doing this are in my book domestic terrorist. they are subverting the congress from preforming it's swore duty to uphold the constitution of the united states and defend the american people not sell us down the river like they have. it is not just health care that is the problem it is all of those lobbyist from all walks of the corporate greed to have it their way. they want it all and none for us. the top 5% of this country are in on the money grab and i want the congress to cease and desist. they are all of them grubby greedy guilty of treasonous crimes against this nation. pink slip them all no money for elections in those states anymore for which they are bankrupting all of our states by their actions. someone call up the attorney general and make a complaint.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  135. Carol Auburndale, Florida

    Jack, I want everyone to know how much money has been added to the bank accounts of these congressmen and women from these 6 lobbyists per person. If, President Obama wants to do something about health care, all he has to do is tell congress as of January 1 they have no insurance. Then and only then will they do anything. You take away their golden fleece and they will get the message and fix health care for the rest of us.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  136. Dee in Florida

    Well, look at it this way. If there are 3,300 lobbyists, that means (if each of them is part of the 'traditional' family of two parents, two kids) that 10,230 people are being benefited by those lobbyist jobs!

    So, no, that is NOT enough lybbyists. If they could increase the number of lobbyists tenfold (or more) or more, we culd end the recession!

    So, the lobbyist industry is just not pulling its own weight!!!

    Shame on them!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  137. Art

    Money is as money does! Only wish the Lobbyists would start beating each other over who is going to get to be biggest butt kisser!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  138. frank

    well i hope health care doesnt pass
    and i'll tell you why
    first when you have to make cuts { look at Britains } they are cutting treatment so what are we going to do here
    no one will have treatment and the old people will die and the sick

    September 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  139. Kay, TX

    legalized payola. congress sold their souls to the highest bidder and we all suffer the consequences.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  140. Dylan

    It really makes it clear that the people's interests are what helps these lawmakers choose what is best for the people................. yeah right. This is corruption in its most open and exposed form, and yet nothing will be done. Truly a shame.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  141. Rick in Northern California

    Why not call it what it is Jack. It bribery not lobbying. Of course 6 is too many. There should be none. Who do you think pays for all that lobby money? WE DO!!!! It will be interesting to see how these people who took the bribes (oops I mean lobby money) vote when the time comes.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  142. Chuck Cooledge

    Can you say legalized bribery? I thought this was a democracy. Give me a break.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  143. Jackie in Dallas

    Jack, not only enough, but much too much! This is where the obvious distortions of what is in the health care bills are coming from…special interest groups who have the most to lose if pharmacological companies are regulated, if insurance companies are regulated, or if there are common sense limitations placed on what doctors/hospitals/other health care facilities can do or not do in the way of denying services to the uninsured or underinsured.

    If they’d farm that money into improving hospital facilities for the uninsured/underinsured, research into common illnesses, and making essential medications available on a sliding scale by what you can afford to pay, we’d all be healthier!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  144. Jim Bailey

    This is just what Congress wanted, that corporations have a larger and louder voice than the voters.
    'All are equal, but some are MORE equal than others'.
    Welcome to life in a corrupt corporate state.
    Jim Bailey
    Cripple Creek

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  145. Rudy Haugeneder, Victoria, Canada

    American democracy is now based on lobbyist cash to the members of Congress rather than any morals any/all of these people have.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  146. woa florida

    speechless!!! its better to be a lawmaker than a american!!!!!! dough!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  147. auldgranny

    when the lobbiest give money to advance an agenda its not free speech its bribery.....

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  148. shankarikali

    It's called bribery everywhere else. The reason these people in Congress don't stand for us is because they are bribed by big business. Don't count on big defense not doing bribery as well. Why do you suppose we have some idiotic war every 20 years? It's about money. Big money. These guys make money off of sick people and war. How sick is that? Our government is owned by these idiots. Does that mean we still have a democracy? No. We have an oligarchy.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  149. Jim C

    If we tax all the lobest money, we could pay for health care...

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  150. Art

    We could only hope to have as many working towards the creation of all those jobs that are being created from the stimulus money. Where are all those jobs, anyway?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  151. Rosalind

    6 lobbyists? These senators are nothing more then whores for the Medical insurance companies and big pharma. When will this be stopped. These fat cats live large while rolling the dice on the health and welfare of the citizens. Shame on them for their ugly greed and shame on the lobbyists. Ulitimately though, the blame lies with the senators as they can say No to these vultures if they really wanted to.

    Roz
    Canada

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  152. Tim from Hot Springs, AR

    Jack, it doesn't take brilliant minds such as our's to figure that one out. However, to actually answer your question, we have to wait and see. If health care reform does actually pass, then ultimately six lobbyists per congressman and the millions of dollars spent to block it weren't enough.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  153. TAYFUN

    We got the power, Dear coward congressman, We have to pass Healtcare bill or next election as a Democrat, I am not going to vote for you.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  154. Marco

    Hi Jack,

    We could take all that money and pay for universal health insurance.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  155. Wm in PA

    Jack,
    The question and it's background fact summary make a citizen want to cry. It makes clear that the United States has two classes of citizens: The very very wealthy and the rest of us.
    Until we citizens understand the facts and are not swayed by the relentless propaganda we have no representation in the halls of government.
    If you really want to see big cash spending: watch what happens if a bill is introduced to make the only spending allowed in any election be public funds with fixed amounts and real enforcement. First we hear the freedom of speech argument. So it clear that money is represented in the U. S. not citizens.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  156. Kieran Quinn, Ontario

    Jack, one would be too many. As long as politicians are taking money from the health sector, they cannot be expected to make decisions that are in the best interests of the people but rather will make those decisions to benefit the health sector.

    I am thankfull that I live in a country with a well developed public health system, imperfect though it may be. We also dojn't have the same level of lobbyingt that you have in the U.S.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  157. Jeannette Winchell

    I support health care reform including a public option, where is my lobbyist?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  158. Pati The Nurse

    Why, when there is a conflict of interest, do board members of our homeowners association have to recuse themselves, but it's just fine that Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley have the fate of the entire country's health in their hands– even though they are completely owned by the insurance companies, etc.?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  159. Duane in California

    It's too many. Our great country is in danger! When corporations have that much influence on our government, bad things happen. Bills/ laws that should pass, wont because big business has to much money/ influence. America... A democracy? I don't think so.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  160. Josh

    Six lobbyists is way too much. All they do it take in money that could be used to help get healthcare reform finally done in this country. How about instead of lobbyists, the government look into countries such as Germany where you have universal healthcare that is better than Canada's or England's. You can opt in or out of the system in Germany. My father-in-law paid Euro 200 for his cancer treatment in Germany, which is lower than many people pay a month for insurance coverage in this country.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  161. Annie, Atlanta

    Yes, enough to successfully kill any chance of reform. My Dad once told me insurance companies have more money than God. Obviously, and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Sadly most elected representatives don’t have the character it takes to resist. And sadder still are the ignoramuses who rally on their behalf, against their own best interests.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  162. Ed from Montana

    Jack,
    It's not going to be enough to get them re-elected. Right now the drug companies are running a lot of ads for Max Baucus here in Montana, telling us how much we ought to be thanking him for health care reform, and they are running them because the Democrats in this state are in open revolt over his handling of the issue. As it is right now, Max won't get another term from the Democrats in this state. He may have to run as a Republican next time.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  163. Olu

    Six lobbyist? This is crazy, that’s why we’re getting nowhere, what’s happening to Obama keeping his promise about getting rid of lobbyist? I guess he needs to get down with this if something real is to be done. However, we all now know why these guys oppose Healthcare reform; after all what are lobbyist for?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  164. Benjamin in D.C.

    Not at all, Jack. For every 6 lobbyists, there should be 600,000 more citizens pushing congressmen to do the right thing. Vocal minorities aside, the people have wanted universal healthcare for decades. It is a tragedy of American democracy that it has been delayed for so long, and continues to wallow in factless bickering designed to sustain the system that favors profit over our collective well-being.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  165. Pugas-AZ

    If the drug companies have their way , we will all be on anti depressants and will be too "out of it" to care. It's either that or the Viagra will be flowing so much that we will all be too busy to care. If Obama really wants to fix things, he should take on the lobbiest and erase them from the political map. Talk about an evil empire.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  166. Ben

    Of course 6 is enough.
    Until of course when legislation is introduced that may reign in the profits made by denying coverage for people that get sick.
    Then it will be 7, or 8, or 9, whatever it takes to maintain the status quo.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  167. Doyle from Canada

    If you want to end the influence of lobbyists, set a one term limit of eight years & that will eliminate the need for all moneys for re-electionby congress.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  168. Inez Hutto

    Jack: Is that supposed to be a serious question? Isn't one lobbiest too much sometimes Lobbying is the reason we don't have a decent healthcare plan right now.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  169. Burt

    If this isn't out and out bribery I don't know what the hell it is. These bozos in congress don't give a hoot about the average person. All they care about is lining their own pockets.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  170. Jason, Oakland CA

    It should be illegal for Congress people to do anything but talk to lobbyists. The current system is legal bribery. Congress people accepting donations from any industry their vote affects is a conflict of interest. All invloved should be locked up.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  171. Josh in Anchorage

    Six lobbyists is way too much. All they do it take in money that could be used to help get healthcare reform finally done in this country. How about instead of lobbyists, the government look into countries such as Germany where you have universal healthcare that is better than Canada’s or England’s. You can opt in or out of the system in Germany. My father-in-law paid Euro 200 for his cancer treatment in Germany, which is lower than many people pay a month for insurance coverage in this country.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  172. Michael

    Why should there even be ONE lobbyist?? Giving money in exchange for public shouldn't be called Lobbying, it should be called Corruption. It sickens me how tainted Washignton has become by private interest throeing dollars and affecting public policy.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  173. Mike in Rohnert Park, CA

    Jack,

    That is 6 too many for this debate. It makes you wonder if some of our congressional representatives should have to remove themselves because of the amount of money they have taken from the health care lobby. It's a tainted outcome based on that alone.

    This is a conversation of the people not professional politicians who have taken HUGE sums of money from lobbyists. What ever happened to politicians representing the the folks that elected them to office???

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  174. David

    I have long said that corporations are running the country. We need to get back to where it's a government of the people, by the people, and for the people! The sickening part about the protesters of healthcare reform is that they are unknowingly defending these big corporations and wealthy corporate executives to govern the United States!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  175. ej

    PAC funding is corrupting and has corrupted American Politics to the point of uselessness. Politicians know the #1 Sales rule: Americans will *NOT* buy what they do not know. The more money in the political fund, the more money to spend putting your face and name out there during the campaign. Politicians like President Obama were beholding to the health care lobbyists before this project ever got started. It wasn't like congress and the President didn't know from past Hillary Clinton's efforts. All President Obama had to do was hold some town hall meetings and now, PBS is reporting that next week, President Obama will be speaking to congress, withdrawing the 'National Public Option' from his health care proposals. In other words, this is a predetermined outcome, laden with hypocrisy. Meanwhile good Americans will continue losing everything they have because of just one accident, or one disease. American Politics is a corrupt joke and a sick one at that...

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  176. todzilla52

    no jack, let's make it sixty for each, and then let's appoint another czar to oversee them. i'd like to nominate myself for the czar position, and i'll only charge the max i can make drawing social security, and we all know that's not very much.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  177. Brooks Foley - Illinois

    Our government is bought and paid for by corporate interests. Our founding fathers would be disgusted by what we have done with the gift they gave us. How about this, we pass a law that no elected (or running for office) official my take more than a $100 dontation from any one person in a 6 month period, and no elected (or running for office) offical can take any, not one penny, from any corporation.
    "We the people", was never ment to be we the corporation.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  178. Chukky Nwanosike, Seattle WA

    Hi Jack,

    The answer should be zero lobbyist; President Obama promised us (during his campaign to the white house) that his administration will be "a zero lobbyist administration." Let the lawmakers talk to the people they are representing period.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  179. Kangaroo

    Where does this money go??????
    What do law makers do with it?????
    Why not give it to me?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  180. Jason in California

    Ban the lobbyist, Jack. They corrupt our system! The bottom line, the health insurance companies are lobbying for Big profits, not for helping people in need!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  181. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    Enough??? It's six too many, considering the fact that these lobbyists don't give a rat's behind about the people this reform is supposed to help. Lobbyists notoriously work for large corporations, not the 'man on the street'. If left to the lobbyists, the health care reform will make the drug companies trillionaires ... and leave the middle to low income people of America worse off than they are now. Of course the lobbyists, some senators and house members will make a ton of money also ... all on the backs of the people who need health care.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  182. Fernando McGregor, Rosamond, CA

    Hello Jack: Lobbying is just a "Legalized Bribing Sytem". Lobbying amounts to treason against the citizens of the United States. Lobbying should be outlawed, and anyone who receives lobby monies, directly or indirectly, should be stripped of their position in government and send to jail for corruption and treason.
    In addition we should strip corporations of their title of "corporate citizen", because they bribe and corrupt the ones in power. If you or me slip an envelope with money to a congressman to influence the outcome of a legislation we will go to jail and called "corrupt"; if the money is giving by a "corporate citizen" is legal and called "Lobby".
    What is wrong with this picture?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  183. Shirley Harvey

    There is only one way to fix this–make it illegal to fund any campaigns
    for re-election except via tax money specified for this purpose and allotted among candidates. Apparently it is too much to expect that a government official would be ethical enough to say 'I do not want to owe anyone anything–I am an independent thinker'. So, the question of 'where are the statesmen?' is currently answered thusly–we can't find any because they've all been purchased.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  184. Healthy Chicken

    The money they are using to bribe congress to vote against the public healthcare option will be deducted as an expense from their income taxes at the end of the year.

    It wont be used to actually pay for health care by these health insurance companies. In fact, those health insurance companies will pass on these costs to their customers and certify on their tax forms that these costs are a necessary business expenses.

    We should arrest and lock up the tax accountants that try to claim these costs as business expenses.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  185. Shawn Evans

    With all the savvy wielded by the Obama administration, they should have realized that – prior to tackling healthcare – they would need to tackle to big, fat, stinking elephant in the room: Lobbyists. It's worse than we think too, Jack. Most Americans fail to realize that a significant portion of lobbyists are receiving money directly from foreign countries. How does it feel having our country bought and sold not just by American corporate interests, but also those of foreign countries?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  186. Jane

    Isn't it time to end this craziness? We need a publicly funded election system that works quickly and efficiently. Our lawmakers need to get down to the business of making laws, rather than running for office. Worshipping the past doesn't work. Time to lengthen representatives terms and limiting them reasonably. Our founding fathers never envisioned a time when campaigns for office would require the funds they now do. America needs to grow up and develop a system that works. Right now, adherance to the past means corporate lobbyists win.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  187. Scott Stodden

    Jack I think 6 lobbyists is more than enough, with all these lobbyists paying all this money to politicians we could have been had affordable healthcare for all. Also why the hell do these lobbyists pay these politicians all this money, President Obama said during the 2008 campaign that he never takes money from lobbists and Im sorry Mr President but I dont believe that.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,IL)

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  188. Tom in Klamath Falls

    Jack, this is the matter that Obama clearly stated he would "change" and got a large amount of independent minded voters to his side. The only change I'm seeing is that the situation has worsened.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  189. deemarie, Sweet Home, OR

    From what all I've read the government has had 100 yrs to hammer out a bullet proof health care plan. "U.S. efforts to achieve universal coverage began with Theodore Roosevelt in 1912"

    There is NO excuse!, NONE! WHAT! SO! EVER!, six lobbiest or zero.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  190. Rob

    The sad fact of the matter is that if you do the opposite of what almost every single lobbyist wants then you'd probably get the best health care bill possible. Unfortunately the money is always behind ensuring future profits. There isn't anyone cutting big checks just for the sake of improving people's lives. There may be a few lobbyists out there backing just causes, but if you threw them all out of Washington we'd all be much better off. They like to call it "free speech". Let's let them work for free and see how much speech they have left.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  191. philip

    Three hundred million + citizens in the US. Perhaps if we all gave our congressman five bucks we could actually get our voices heard.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  192. ssn

    Why blame congress and lobbyists? We have given congress the power to decide our lives. it is your duty to make public aware of their power to change.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  193. Jackie in Dallas

    Remo, Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas,

    What makes you think that term limits will have any effect on how much the lobbyists spend? It will INCREASE the amount spent to influence our congresspeople! Which is further costs to be passed along to you that are covered by health insurance. That won't affect me...my pre-existing conditions priced me out of decent health care about 8 years ago.

    I've got to calm down - I can't afford my asthma meds this month and don't want to precipitate an attack!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  194. Bobsie

    Jack:

    Are six per… enough????????

    All of them, lobbyists and representatives of the American public are
    sick and greedy people. They seem to have a licence to steal from and buy and sell us. I want what we fought for during the election….UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE WITH A PUBLIC OPTION.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  195. Joe Rogers

    Six lobbyists for health care should be reduced to ZERO lobbyists
    for health care. To make a long story short, all lobbying should be
    outlawed, and sooner is better than later. Our representatives and
    senators are paid out of taxpayer money to represent the people who
    paid these taxes. Where in blazes do we start with carrying out the
    idea contained herein???

    Joe from Annapolis, MD

    September 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  196. Frank McNeil

    Jack/

    Enough to bankrupt the country by killing health care reform. Enough to guarantee America's descent, set in motion by the Bush administration, into third world status. Enough, if the lobbyists work really hard, to condemn many Americans to life without healthcare and an early death.

    Frank in Boca Raton. Florida

    September 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  197. Bob In Florida

    Fraud, Corruption, Greed, obscene wealth are ALL BIG PIES to slice up. As the money flows, Fraud, Corruption, Greed grow also.

    Remember though, it is the poor and middle class who are ultimately paying for ALL OF THIS, so the wealthy can become wealthier.

    Now the poor and middle class will pay with MORE THAN MONEY, they will pay with their health and ultimately with their lives. The feudal system lives on!

    WHO CARES THOUGH? Even Obama, the perveyor of the "Audacity of Hope" has ABANDONED the poor and middle class on health care. As I see it, it will take the actual "Second Coming of Jesus Christ" to stop this Faud, Corruption and Greed

    September 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  198. Nelson in SC

    Six lobbyists per congress member is ridiculous, unless it’s the Health industries intent to get legislation the way they want it. The founding fathers fought for independence from the tyranny of a king. Now money is king and WE THE PEOPLE have no voice. They must be turning over in their graves.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  199. Mae Glover

    No, I think there is a need for more lobbyists in Congress to really do an effective job - it is one way of totally shutting down healthcare reform. We need our healthcare giants to become richer! Then healthcare will really function - only the rich will be able to afford it!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  200. Marge in New Port Richey, Florida

    This is disgustingly gross. We all know that our elected lawmakers are primarily concerned about their own welfare and are easily bribed so lobbyists shouldn't even be ALLOWED within 100 yards of them or any of their staff (one would hope a figure a football field is far enough away). And no mail, phone or email contact either. This is the kind of information that should be discussed at Town Hall meetings and on the front page of newspapers across America. It certainly sheds a bright light on why our officials side with the insurance companies while we can't fathom how they could. I can't imagine how much less my monthly premium would be if all of that money went directly to reducing costs instead of trying to influence our elected officials. Gross.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  201. GaUnry L.

    Jack

    Yes, six loggyists are enough. I just got my UnitedHealthCare premium notice. They increased my premium by 50% from $2051.14 to $3004.12. I guess that the companys are trying to get there money before the gov. changes the rules. Either way the consumer gets, you know what. Is there anyone outther that can help??

    Thanks
    Gary L. Austn tx.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  202. Mark Dudley

    Are six lobbyists enough? Sure! Any less and the poor politicians might have to do something drastic, like THEIR JOBS. I don't know how the citizens of this nation can put up with the level of naked corruption represented by the entire lobbying process.

    I mean who is asleep at the switch here? This is our country, not MERC's or Phizers. The last time I checked corporate entities couldn't vote. We have only ourselves to blame for what is happening in this country. We sit back and let the inmates run the asylum, so to speak, in regards to the access these lobbyist have to our elected officials.

    Heck if they want to lobby someone, why don't these companies do townhall meetings like our elected officials do? I would love to see some drug company rep in the cross hairs of the angry mobs that have recently showed up at the health care informational gatherings.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  203. STAN - IL.

    Did you ask this question when the Republicans were in office? No, it sounds like you are trying down President Obama every day with your questions. The news medis were afraid of Cheney/Bush, after all they said you were either for or against them. Now come on and ask some questions that hold our new President in good light. We really do need the health care passed.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  204. James E. Ryza

    I have been saying for years that lobblist are ruining this country, money is going to be the evil that will cause this country to collapse one day. People do not understand that the excess money they are paying for these goods are paying to make these products even more expensive. We are footing the bill that is costing people higher medical costs, medication, and even jobs. I will assure you, that money spent is not to help us. Here I am 60 unemployed, been treated for cancer, a wife unemployed, we're too young for SS or medicare, and with the shortage of jobs, our age cuts us out.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  205. david doherty

    I think it's time to redo the way our goverment works, (no pun intended) instead of letting congress make all the important decisions that make or break our lives, I think that there should be a public vote on all these issues, that way we can get rid of all these bums that are doing nothing but linning their pockets, and have a goverment that works!

    Dave from NH.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  206. Linda in Arizona

    Corporate lobbying should be illegal. Period. It has corrupted our legislative system. The people are left out of the loop. Corporations rule.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  207. Greg

    Yes 6 is QUITE enough, as per say the government. That is 6 to many for me tho. I read somewhere a little quote, " For the People, By the People " hummmmm I think that has changed. " For the money, By the Money ". I also read another quote, “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies... This issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.”
    -Thomas Jefferson.
    Apply that to the Insurance companies, which have enough money to be banks, and I think it holds true !! Thomas was a wise dude !!
    Greg .. Arkansas

    September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  208. Mike from E.C. PA

    It seems to me, that all that money is ours from being overcharged on the premiums we pay. Just as we go to work and the government taxes us on the money we make, then in fair turn, we should be able to tax the money these companies are bilking us out of, and pay for health care and infrastructure repair. Taxing lobbying money would not only allow for more accountability, it would bring a stimulus for cash-strapped coummunities, states, and America.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  209. Jon Auer

    Apparently not Jack. With Resort Luxury Sweets and Vacation Houses with maids going now for about 25 thosand a night or a week depending.
    And private Golf Fees hitting 1500-2500 for a day out counting greens, lunches and carts etc. And the exorbidant fees necessary to bring your Mistress and His or Her family along. And dont forget the Casions have a High Roller minimum thats on the rise due to reduced traffic because of a sinking economy. Why its a real crisis!

    This, coupled with the rising costs of Jet fuel, and real estate rentals on the rise, due to credit requirments, how can they possibly afford to set their remote staffers office up to conduct remote business while away on such important business.

    I can barely see how those poor buggers are making it now!

    I think at least 3 more lobbists per Legislator is needed immediately to bail them out!

    Jon in Nashville

    September 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  210. Lisa in Shelton

    lobbying is rife with abuses; just like healthcare is – why can't those salaries be spent on helping sick people not schmoozing politicians and entertaining strange bedfellows. It is legalized bribery.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  211. Joyce in Topeka,Ks

    No wonder, it seems like things have come to a halt concerning
    our health care. Our congress men, must have their heels smoking,
    in getting this slowed down. Boy, don't you just love it, you vote
    them in, to represent you. You can believe, my rep, remembers me arouond voting time. I love the media. They keep me informed

    September 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  212. Alice NEWYORK

    You just spued the ratio for congress/labbyist, what is the ratio for citizens? I'm sure come election time I and others will remember this when comes to voting. Not to happy with either party at this point, in it for themselves not who they represent. Say where are these surveys comming from ? I've never been called or e-mailed, the results you people want is where you go. Just do it and pass this bill, why is this so hard to do/

    September 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  213. Mark Dudley

    Auburn Hills, Michigan

    Are six lobbyists enough? Sure! Any less and the poor politicians might have to do something drastic, like THEIR JOBS. I don't know how the citizens of this nation can put up with the level of naked corruption represented by the entire lobbying process.

    I mean who is asleep at the switch here? This is our country, not MERC's or Phizers. The last time I checked corporate entities couldn't vote. We have only ourselves to blame for what is happening in this country. We sit back and let the inmates run the asylum, so to speak, in regards to the access these lobbyist have to our elected officials.

    Heck if they want to lobby someone, why don't these companies do townhall meetings like our elected officials do? I would love to see some drug company rep in the cross hairs of the angry mobs that have recently showed up at the health care informational gatherings.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  214. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    No, Jack, there should be 20, maybe 50. Let the drug companies and insurance vampires really show how much money they made from our suffering. Let them take Congress to junkets like they do the doctors. Let them show how really evil they are so we can all vote for the public option.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  215. jim Blevins

    Thank you for quantifying the problem. A large part of healthcare reform is getting the cost down. But that largely means somebody is going to lose excessive profit. It is to be expected that somebody getting excessive money would spend a lot of money to preserve that. Unfortunately, many Americans would rather invent death panels than talk about the facts of what is really happening.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    September 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  216. Inez Hutto

    Jack: South Carolina will be the last to see help from the stimulus, thanks to a governor who is tied to a party that tied to big business. It is little business that keeps the country going.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  217. olddude1952

    I think that it's six lobbyists too many. Congress should ban paid lobbyists altogether. Let all the industries save their money and spend it on improving their products and work conditions.

    Congress can then work for the people they serve and not for the lobbyists that pay them to do their bidding. The congress is for the people not for the lobbyists. Lets get it straight.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  218. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    $263 million …. Just consider it the 6 month premium on an insurance policy. To insure their profits & bonuses remain very high.

    As for the contributions to Senators and Representatives it becomes quite clear why passing any reform is nearly impossible.

    We need to put a CAP on lobbying and TRADE our legislators. :)

    September 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  219. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Dear Jack:
    Only if the 6 are on my side!

    Seriously though, I appreciate the fact that we have a RIGHT to lobby - it's just gotten way out of hand.

    Personally, I feel some of this would stop if lobby groups who advertise had to be more up front about who they really are and who they really represent, ie. Dick Armey with FreedomWorks, Rick Scott (former indicted CEO of an HMO) and Steve Forbes with Conservatives for Patient's Rights, Big Pharma with 60+, and the teabagger founder Joe Wierzbicki who is a PR man who works for the King Media Group, and has worked for the Republican Party, President George W. Bush in his campaign to push for the Iraq War, and also a Campaign for Kurdish Regional Government, etc.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  220. ridicklous62

    So Jack what's the biggest threat to the nation's economy. Healthcare or lobbyist?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  221. norma

    It makes my blood boil every time I think about the fact that the average Joe and Jane in this country are at the mercy of the "bought and paid for" politicians who are literally at the beck and call of the lobbyists. And it's not just health care – it's EVERY ASPECT of OUR LIVES. Eisenhower's granddaughter explained on RealTime – Bill Mahr's show, that his farewell speech warned us about the Military, Industrial, and CONGRESSIONAL complex, that he saw as THE major threat to our democracy.

    Today, this country is owned and operated by the large corporations.

    Norma,
    Sugar Land, TX

    September 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  222. Derek Harper

    The Lawmakers have accepted the "Legalized Bribes" to let non-rich sick people die !!!!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  223. Jackie in Dallas

    Thank you Bill in Sacramento for pointing out an important distinction. There ARE lobbyists, or what we term lobbyists, working quite legitimately for darn good reasons. They are usually representing groups that have been given the shaft by government; i.e. the seniors (AARP), teachers, police and constabulary, and other groups of citizens. But they aren't spending millions buying off congresspeople, they are there doing what our duly elected Representatives and Senators are SUPPOSED to be doing - making the voices of tax-paying citizens heard.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  224. Mike Armstrong TX.

    NO they could multiply there efforts by 123 and still come up with 00 This briengs the thought of the word united with out each others help we have no help should we help otheres before we help ourselves and are we still able to save ourselves.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  225. jack

    I am outraged over this. Can anyone explain to me the difference between these lobbiest expenditures and plain old bribery?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  226. Barbara NY

    And in the end, Historians will say that not taking care of their own people was one of the things that destroyed the United States of America. Greed won out!

    September 3, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  227. Matt from Clemson, SC

    Jack,

    There are 3,300 lobbyists on capitol hill, but there are 45 million or so lobbyists begging for healthcare. I suppose if we (as in each of the 45 million uninsured lobbyists) filled our representatives pockets with the same volume of cash as each of the 3,300 then maybe something would get accomplished. So is six each enough... looks like its working well for them thus far...

    September 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  228. Donna Kile

    Sad, Sad..............Obviously we know who our Congress cares about....#1.....not people with no health care. We should outlaw lobbiests.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  229. Carole

    What ever happened to "By the People, for the People"?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  230. Steve

    The other reason they are having a really hard time is because the lawmakers also have 300 million "other lobbyists" who don't really want government healthcare either.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  231. Mago Maguire

    I think we need lobbyist reform in Washington! What do all those aides to our congressmen and senators do, anyway? Shouldn't they be the ones who are presenting UNbiased information to our lawmakers?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  232. Eduardo Cohen

    Dear Jack,

    The number of corporate lobbyists with access to both legislators and legislation is shameful. Corporate influence over our government and public policy is so overwhelming that without radical electoral reform and the removal of corporate money from our political process, we should no longer describe our system of government as democracy, but rather as a corporatocracy – in which the CEOs and lobbyists of a few powerful corporations have more influence than millions of American voters.

    If a public health insurance option is dropped from the current health care reform legislation, it or should be clear to all who actually owns our government. Hint: It’s not the voters.

    Eduardo Cohen
    San Mateo, CA

    September 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  233. Mike

    Why isn't health care run by a non-profit organization? Nobody would lobby for them.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  234. Sheila

    6 or 600 lobbyists per politician, big fat hairy deal! Them against untold millions of Americans suffering and dying needlessly because of corporate greed? The choice is clear, Mr. Obama. Isn't it?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  235. George in Texas

    Jack, drug makers have more people in DC than in their research labs.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  236. Carol from Ocean View, DE.

    When I first graduated from college in the late 60's, I was proud to volunteer my time to lobbies. We were all volunteers. We met after our full-time day jobs. We formulated letters to congress . We were promoting views re: education, equal rights, public safety, etc.
    I am sickened by the fact that our Congress is driven by the need for political dollars in their coffers. If we had term limits for congress as we do for the Exectutive Branch, we would eradicate the idiocy of what is happening. However, money talks. Then we would have a dozen lobbiests for each member of Congress. Corporations will never relinguish their control over our legislators. Sadly, a large portion of Americans have NO representation in Congress .

    September 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  237. Andy W

    There is no hope for people to be heard until we have term limits and public funding of campaigns. I cannot buy a vote like a corporation can.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  238. Jim Reeves

    Why assume all of these lobbyists are behind the insurance companies? I know my AARP membership dues pay for some of them. George Soros and moveon.org must have some in there as well. The true answer is to throw all of them out of DC along with the current set of "lawmakers." And while we're at it, we should make all senators, congresspersons, cabinet members, court justices AND Mr. O himself sell all stock before taking office and, if they want to invest, put their money in government bonds.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  239. Dave from CT

    Before you determine if 6 is enough, you need to understand how many it takes to change a lightbulb....

    I guess we all need to take off of work one day and go lobby ourselves in order to be heard...

    September 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  240. Annetha in Washington State

    Six lobbyists per lawmaker, are you kidding me Jack?!?! Sheez, maybe I should just give up and move to Canada.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  241. John Galt

    Why not limit the total contributions by any individual or organization to say $2500 per year. That makes it much harder to buy a congress person and wiht nobody owning them they might even consider their constituents. Of course these are the same people who say Charlie Rangel is ethical.......

    September 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  242. Eduardo Cohen

    (Corrected)

    Dear Jack,

    The number of corporate lobbyists with access to both legislators and legislation is shameful. Corporate influence over our government and public policy is so overwhelming that without radical electoral reform and the removal of corporate money from our political process, we should no longer describe our system of government as democracy, but rather as a corporatocracy – in which the CEOs and lobbyists of a few powerful corporations have more influence than millions of American voters.

    If a public health insurance option is dropped from the current health care reform legislation, it should be clear to all who actually owns our government. Hint: It’s not the voters.

    Eduardo Cohen
    San Mateo, CA

    September 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  243. Katie

    I find it funny people being worried about additional health care coverage out of fear of the government, yet there is no uprising over the fact that businesses are allowed to run a credit check when you are applying for a position with their company. Maybe there are areas that the government needs to step in because the corporations are corrupt and out to make a buck at the expense of others. What does credit have to do with getting the job done?

    September 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  244. Gretchen from Denver

    Evidently not, health care will be reformed and

    good will triumph over greed.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  245. Gwyn

    Since when is bribing a public official legal? And how are 3 million dollar payouts not bribes?

    Los Alamos, NM

    September 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  246. John Kelley

    These lobbyists are an outrage. Try to discover on the internet what representatives, or senators receive money from the Health Insurance and Drug companies. You can't find that information. Bring it up to your Congressman and you don't get an answer. That is why we do not have health care reform. Once you put money underneath the nose of these so called representatives – Democrat, or Republican, they do the Health Insurance and Drug company dance and they forget about why they are there in Congress to serve the people. It is a disgrace and we need to reform Congress before we can get Health care reform.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  247. Correy Forbes

    Concerning the healthcare Lobbyist: In the Turks and Caicos Island When a lawmaker accepts money or gifts from a lobbyist that is considered corruption. I think that there needs to be a Commission of Inquiry of into the doings of congress, I recommend you hire Sir Robin Auld as the commissioner. Google his name and you will see his latest report and recommendations.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  248. Donna Kile - Illinois

    Fraud and dishonesty is what is going on here. Lobbiests are out for exactly what they are hired for and we......the American people....suffer for it. Get rid of them..........It is time.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  249. Jpm

    There should BE NO LOBBYISTS! They are people that are funded by big business to bribe lawmakers; end of story. We wonder why big business can screw us so badly, and then when they run themselves into the ground, they get corporate welfare through OUR tax dollars to bail them out. Our forefathers were directly opposed to this; they would be turning over in their graves at what we are doing to our country.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  250. Scott

    Jack, our "representative" form of government is broken. When important, complex issues can be so easily distorted by special interests, and lobbyists given such free access to legislators, it is a recipe for ineffective, unaccountable governance. And that is just what we have.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  251. April Smith

    That's an abserd number of lobbyists per congressmen, but not an unexpected amount. If your industry was making billions of dollars of profit a year, you'd surely spend some of that money on making sure the goverment doesn't screw it up for you. It's just too bad that American people are NOT the top priorty for a lot of congressmen.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  252. Van, Memphis, TN

    Only 6? I thought there were more...

    September 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  253. Michael Miller

    Here's a question: what do all those involved in the healthcare debate pay for THEIR healthcare? Lobbyists and Congress must be the most out of touch group to be reforming the system – they don't see healthcare as middle America does.

    September 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm |