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February 25th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Chances of health care reform with 8 lobbyists for each Congress member?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Lobbyists are one major reason why our government is broken.

A copy of the Senate's health care reform plan sits between members of Congress as Pres. Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting to discuss health reform legislation.
A copy of the Senate's health care reform plan sits between members of Congress as Pres. Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting to discuss health reform legislation.

And you don't have to look any further than health care reform to see that we have the best government money can buy:

  • Consider this: More than 1,700 companies and organizations hired about 4,500 lobbyists last year to work on health care reform. That translates to eight health care lobbyists for each member of Congress.
  • According to this report by the Center for Public Integrity: The health sector spent more than $540 million on lobbying last year. The health industry has given $45 million dollars in campaign donations for the 2010 election cycle; and it spent more than $200 million on TV ads related to health care reform last year.

You think anyone in Washington hears the voice of the common man? Think again.

The fingerprints of lobbyists are all over this legislation. As one expert put it, "They cut it. they chopped it. they reconstructed it. They didn't bury it. I don't think they wanted to."

Lobbyists apparently succeeded at blocking the public option and softening the effect of cost-cutting measures on health care companies.

The American medical association says it helped kill some fees for doctors and a tax on cosmetic surgery - among other things.

At the end of the day, we're talking about legislation that can be called "reform," while what it really is is a three-card monte game designed to protect all the vested interests in the debate except the taxpayer.

Here’s my question to you: What are the chances of health care reform when there are eight lobbyists for every member of Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

E. in Maryland writes:
I say Democrats should just shove health care right down the Republicans’ throats and keep moving… We've wasted enough time trying to pacify the Republicans who have no intention of working with the president.

Leroy in Jersey City, New Jersey writes:
You gotta admit, Jack, these guys are good. Facing a public option that would create competition and provide coverage for the uninsured, they morphed the bill into a mandate – making it illegal for the uninsured not to buy private insurance. I’d say they got their $45 million worth.

Ken writes:
As the members of Congress were addressing the health care summit today, the box to the left of them should have depicted any campaign contributions received from medical insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, AMA, and other special interest groups. Then the American people can see who these politicians really work for.

Bob in Houston writes:
You have a better chance of breaking Vegas then reforming our health care system.

Cathy writes:
Health care will never pass in a responsible way because the minute we elect 'our voice' they start campaigning. These people do not care about doing the right thing, they care about perception.

S. writes:
Jack, I'm afraid the health care reform bill has about the same chance as a snowball in hell. I don't think that Congress really understands the plight of the average working family in regards to health care costs. Premiums going up, coverage going down… high prescription and medical care costs –Congress doesn't have a clue - or they care more about health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.

Pam in Pennsylvania writes:
Money talks, politicians listen.


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Lobbyists
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. brenda

    I have a great idea...Take heath insurance away from all of the senators and congressmen. I'm tired of paying for their coverage.

    February 25, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  2. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Obviously the health care industry is highly profitable; otherwise, they couldn't afford 8 lobbyists per Congressman or wouldn't have a reason to.

    Lobbyists get away with their shenanigans through 'comprehensive' legislation. Their 'wins' get buried deep in 1000 plus page documents. If we had had a simple bill to end the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption, it would probably be law by now. One could say the same for many other points in what is called health reform today. Nothing gets done, because we insist on a large package before doing anything ... a perfect environment for the lobbyist crowd.

    Bill Clinton wasn't completely wrong when he asked for a line-item veto.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    February 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  3. Elaine Levenseller

    I cannot believe that a group of grown men cannot agree to a health plan for the people. If everyone received the income that they receive we wouldn't have anything to worry about.
    Mary Madline said "thank- god we have partys". sorry Mary but that is where the problem lies. If we just had the congress of the united states instead of dem. and rep. then there wouldn't be anything to argue about. I have never understood why we need partys anyway. You still will have people who agree and disagree but it would be concerning the the issues and not whether they are Dem. or Rep.
    Come on they are acting like the Hatfields and McCoys.

    February 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  4. Mike Crockett, TX

    Well Jack, it is propably more than 8. Don't we realize yet that insurance companies are for profit organizations who are responsible to the welfare of their stock holders not the the welfare or best interests of the American public.

    It is amazing to me how politicians can contort themselves like sideshow freaks to do the will of insurance corprate profitability and try to make it seem that they are doing the business of the people.

    Until we have true reform that puts the people first and takes for profit insurance executives and their political pupets out of the driver's seat we sill never get beyond the bloviating that is the regular drumbeat from Washington.

    The only reasonable soultion would be to remove lobbiests from contact with elected officals and inact term limits to send all elected officals home after one term in office.

    February 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  5. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    Zip, zilch, nada, nyet, and zero. It's not just the nations health care that they negatively influence, it is every spectre of our national being that they drag down and poison. Why they haven't been outlawed and severely punished is beyond comprehension and a national shame. It is hypocritical for us to condemn a country like Afghanistan for corruption when our own government embraces and condones it here, all the while knowing that it is destroying us from the inside out.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  6. Donovan Henderson NV

    Health Insurance and lobbyists won't do as much for improving the nations's health and its associated costs as it would if people just made better decisions about their diet and excercise on a daily basis. If it is important to you, you will make the time; if you don't have the time it just means it is not important to you.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  7. Marcy - Margate, Fl.

    If Obama thinks he is going to be reelected in 2014,
    he needs to think again.

    Obama has done nothing for the American people.

    We need to return to work,work,work, That's what we
    want and that is what we need.

    As we told George W. Bush, who was not given a second term, "It's the economy stupid."

    February 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  8. Lee MD

    Right now we should take away all of congress benifits. Health care and penison. Let them live like the 30 million people that have nothing. Congress can not even agree on what time it is. Why do we let them make laws for the people of the US. It about time we get rid of them all, an start over with a more workable congress.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  9. Dave Trumble

    Here is my answer to the question. No. For every lobbyist, a non profit lobbyist should have access also. (Congress is too much a closed group) (And the supreme court, what a laugh) Congress apparently doesn't care about the common Man. But they better start looking at history, this so called Tea Party is just the beginning of the multitudes thrashing around and looking for ways to overthrow the people in power.

    Dave, Charlotte North Carolina

    February 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  10. Sarita Scarbrough

    Jack:

    There will be no health care reform all day today I heard the elected officals referring to their constituents. They are so far removed they don't even know what their constituents want. You would think they actually spent time in their district LISTENING to the people. The lobbyist are doing their job, the elected officials have just sold out to the highest bidder.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  11. Sue Rooney

    I think we should take away all healthcare benefits from Congress and their staff until they come to some agreement. Let them feel what it is like for the average American with costs skyrocketing, benefits decreasing each year or not be able to get coverage at all. Maybe this will remind them that it is us, the taxpayer, supplying them with their deluxe healthcare. A few months without any benefits might get them off their ....

    February 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  12. Mike, East Liverpool, Ohio

    Closer to non-existent than white on rice. After all, the congressmen see themselves as lobbyists as soon as their gold-plated pension is assured. They can't anger their future employers.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  13. Joseph Kavanaugh

    Jack,
    If you had 8 lobbyist telling you what to say each evening to America, I feel you are intelligent enough to say the right thing unless they grease your palm. So far, in my oppinion, you have voiced the truth. The truth in any matter should be told regardless of the issue and regardless who is hurt by it. The reform of health care will be done in time as long as the truth of the whole matter is laid on the table so our honest electives can pick up the pieces and put the puzzle together. Americans can do anything as long as truth, justice and the american way are part of any resolution we put forth.

    Semper fi,

    Postal Joe Rock Hill, NY

    February 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  14. sandy

    I remember SOMETHING about getting RID of lobbyists, when Obama ran for office??????? Why should congress be allowed to be BRIBED to vote ??????? I think this is corruption to the highest level??????
    It makes me so mad I could burst!!!!!!! Why can't we do something about it. ?????

    February 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  15. Sarita Scarbrough

    Jack:

    If elected officials stopped receiving healthcare benefits I am sure there would be reform faster than you could say Jack Cafferty. While we are at it lets just pay for their housing and plane tickets and we may even get a jobs bill.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  16. Lonnie

    Jack,
    The next time they show politicians voting on a bill they should show how much they have taken from lobbyist to support/defeat that bill below their name. Government is not broken, it's fixed. On the fix if you get my meaning.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  17. guy m

    Slim and none.....These crooks are all payed off...

    February 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  18. Chris Cruz

    Jack,

    I like the Republican approach, start over and go step by step. That way, all the critically sick people who don't have comprehensive coverage will probably die and save the insurance companies a bundle which translates into kickbacks and pocket money rewards for Republicans and those Democrats that are stalling the Bill.

    The only way the Dems can fight back is to put a list of names of Americans, whose lives could have been saved if they had comprehensive healthcare, on TV & WH Web every week.

    Maybe hang the list of the dead on every Republicans door to remind them of what a great job they're doing for the American people.

    One thing for sure, the Republicans know how to trim down prospective Democratic voters.

    Chris
    Independent
    Benson, AZ

    February 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  19. Duop, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    The chances for the healthcare reform in the United States Congress is fair because if the Rebpublicans decided to act against the will of the majority then the will of the majority will be make clear to the Republicans.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  20. Elisabeth

    Jack,
    We are "the richest country" as per Pres . Obama.
    Since when??? Are we not in debt for 1.3 trillion and maxed out on China's american express.

    Yes, indeed we are rich in debt.
    Elisabeth
    Blythewood, SC
    ,

    February 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  21. Joanne B

    The HC Bill as it is is a piece of crap – tax, mandate and spend. WE've read it twice.
    Joanne
    Mn

    February 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  22. Mike in FL

    The lobbyists probably play as a key issue, especially those for wellpoint, Aetna, and all the other insurance co's. After all major changes would drastically reduce their profits and their bottom line.

    Another thing that will prevent anything they discussed during the summit will pass with/without all the lobbyists are the Republicans continuing to go on and on about how they want it all to be scrapped and to basically adopt their plan which doesn't address the major issues which does placate the insurance co lobbyists.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  23. Susan Frost

    What we continue to tolerate from Congress is nobody's fault but our own. We keep on carping about how rotten our representatives are (which, by and large, is true) but we keep sending them back to Washington to lie, cheat, steal and generally sell us out to the highest bidder. We're not going to reform health care or anything else until we collectively teach these bums a lesson – throw them out on their flabby behinds and let them start looking for a real job. When they cease to be of any use to the lobbyists, the money they're getting will be gone and they'll be up the creek without a paddle – the same place they've put the rest of the country. And good riddance to them!

    Susan
    Tuscaloosa AL

    February 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  24. NancyP

    I believe that there is a huge discrepancy in the Health Care Poll: The poll is not accurate because many people who would express their opinion have no method of relating their view. (i.e. no internet, no cell phones which are primarily targeted most polls.)

    February 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  25. JAY TALMAGE

    Jack sometimes I just don't understand where you are coming from... you have become so negitive.. Why don't you ever commet on all the good things our President does? You used to... Anyway, yes it is hard to get anything done in Washington when there is so much against everything you try to do... I hope Pres . Obama gets this health bill passed witth or without the Republicans ... All they want to do is hope Obama fails.. Isn't that sad for the American people...
    Jay Talmage Las Vegas, Nevada

    February 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  26. Mary

    By allowing an alleged "crook" like Charlie Rangle take part in the health care summit looks bad.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  27. Bill from Oregon City, OR

    I watched most of the Health Care Summit and it was clear that most of the Republican congressman were in the $$$ pocket of the lobbyists. There was NO comments of specific substance other than "start over" which is a ufamism for business as usual. The insurance companies can continue to rape the American Public as long as they help me get re-elected. They should all remember the election isn't far away. The American public want Health Care INSURANCE Reform. Thanks

    February 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  28. Bill from Oregon City, OR

    Get rid of ALL lobby $$$$$$ and Congress WILL start to accomplish the will of the people. Thanks, Bill from Oregon, OR

    February 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  29. David Warnock

    Jack,

    We have the best government MONEY CAN BUY. As long as special interests are allowed to buy votes we are helpless.

    Throwing the bums out as in Congress and Senate persons won't change a thing. Term limits can't bring change,

    It's laughable to read blogs from people who believe "xyz" will bring change. To get our country back we'll have to fight for it or buy iit. Buying it isn't an option for a bankrupt society.

    David

    February 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  30. frankie

    When I watched the Republicans talking about how Americans hate the idea of health care reform and hate the idea of a simple majority vote in the Senate, they actually stated the poll numbers of what percent of Americans feel that way. Just as I suspected, I am NOT the only person in America who wants health care reforms and could care less if the Democrats have to ram it through the Congress. Ramming it through the Congress might be the best way to deal with the lobbyists.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  31. LeRoy in Jersey City

    You gotta admit Jack, these guys are good.

    Facing a public option that would create competition and provide coverage for the uninsured, they morphed the bill into a mandate—making it illegal for the uninsured not to buy private insurance. I’d say they got their 45 million dollars worth.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  32. Cathy

    Health care will never pass in a responsible way because the minute we elect 'our voice' they start campaigning. These people do not care about doing the right thing, they care about perception.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  33. Bob from Houston

    You have a better chance of breaking Vegas then reforming our health care system.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  34. Jim

    Lets see, You think 8 to 1 is bad, Justice Alito guided by Justice Scalia have put massive amounts of Corporate, Association, & Unnion money into Campaign Slush Funds to monopolize the TV,Radio,and Print; and to bribe for votes, and generally render the independent, and potential candidates with positions different than Corporations "dead" due to the disparity in campaign funds. They better get health reform done quick. Reform of any kind is almost over.
    Jim Los Angeles

    February 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  35. ken & inge

    As the congressmen were addressing the Medical Care Summit today, the box to the left of them should have depicted any campaign contributions received from medical insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, AMA, and other special interest groups. Then the American people can see who these politicians really work for.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  36. LaSonya Nashvile TN

    Our chances are slim when our legislatives are thinking of their special interest than what is best for the people. After WW2, Britain declared that their citizens will have free healthcare after their country was davasted, Is that what has to happen to US for us to put citizens first. Ron Paul may have been on the right path, the country has to fall apart before it can build itself up and put citizens first.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  37. Troy Lynn (Sacramento, CA)

    We have Rahm Emanuel to thank for allowing the special interest into the backrooms to practically write the healthcare legislation. He is responsible for hushing the president up about the public option to serve the special interests. HE MUST GO! He has underestimated the American people. He has secured future campaign contributions by special interest for Obama's re-election, but lost the voters in the process.

    What we are seeing here, Jack, has never happened before. They didn't count on the internet and social media having such an impact and giving a loud voice to the common man. They have underestimated us.

    We see who's for us and who's against us. Who fights for special interest and pretends to fight for us. Get the popcorn, this is gonna get better and better as the bad apples are thrown out of congress, much to the lobbyists surprise. The people have been watching.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  38. A. Smith, Oregon

    A thousand dollars for a disposable surgical stapler, ten dollars for TWO TYLENOL PILLS. There is huge price gouging of western medical patients to support the vast and growing greed by western medical doctors, pharmaceutical corporations and the western medical hospital corporations.

    Eastern medical industry costs are mere pennys on the dollar the same person would be forced to spend on routine western medical practitioner visits. In many country's and Eastern medical practices IF YOUR HEALTH DOES NOT IMPROVE, you do not pay a penny, and you can return until your health does improve.

    Western medical practices would nearly all FAIL if they were forced to charge nothing if their patients health did not improve!

    With the Federal Govt. pressuring all American's to purchase hyper-expensive health insurance policy's which can only be used for Western Medical practices, what if its a falsehood by these lobbyists to prop up the vast graft and corruption ripe in the western medical industry, western doctors, western medical hospitals and big pharma?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  39. Pam

    Money Talks. Politicians Listen.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  40. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Lincoln's words "Of the People, by the People, and for the People" were uttered in an era before the terms "Lobbyists" and "'Bought-and-paid-for members of Congress" became the reality. We who live here, serve our country, then pick up the tab, exist nowhere in today's process of government. The best healthcare possible for any of us will never exist until the lobbyists are booted out of our government.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  41. Chris - Sarasota, Florida

    Jack,
    This would not have happened on such a large scale if the Supreme Court would not have ruled in favor of lobbyists because of petty party politics. Health care reform that could have been a sight to see for the uninsured will most likely come to light disfigured and ugly because of the thousands of lobbyists attached to it. This is no way to do politics, this is no way to treat the citizens of the America.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  42. Dennis/Missouri

    We might get what is called reform, but what we will get you can't read on the air. Bottom line is they (congress) need to go. There has always been corruption and lack of common sense in government. Unfortunately with this congress and administration it has ascended to heights never seen before.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  43. Michael from Ft. Hood, Texas

    Jack lobbyists are nothing but "bag men" for corporations. Like the Mafia who used to buy politicians, now the practice has moved off of the back streets onto K street. Lobbying is nothing but the buying of influence, and until we ban the practice, politicians will continue to vote their wallet, instead of what is best for the country.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  44. Don from Belleville, Ontario

    There is still a great chance for worthwhile health care reform in America. Even though I am a retired lawyer and therefore naturally cynical, I do believe it is very possible that most Democrats and Republicans will turn a deaf ear to the lobbyists, turn a blind eye to the large corporate donations, and DO THE RIGHT THING BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR SO MANY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  45. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It depends on which group of lobbyists have the most money, the ones for or against. But doesn't it always come down to money in everything that is done in Washington?

    We might as well get rid of them all in Congress, hire Bill Gates as the Republican and Warren Buffet as the Democrat, and what ever they decide so be it. At least they can't be bought.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  46. cmac

    It is plain and simple to me. HEALTH CARE SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!!!!!!!
    All this talk about what the majority of the american people want, according to the polls or the people they have talked to, is a talking point at best. The american people are divided 50 50 along political lines. I am tired of hearing what the american people want. A majority of the american people thought that civil rights, social security, and medicare were bad ideas at the time. Just because a majority af americans believe that something is wrong does not make them right. I am an american and nobody has polled my wishes or ideas. If you want to poll somebody , poll the 30 million americans that do not have health insurance and see how they feel.

    sincerely an american

    February 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  47. Ken in NC

    New York congressman Anthony Weiner said it best when he said “the Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of insurance companies”. Combine that with eight lobbyists for every member of Congress, health care has about as much chance for survival as a snowball in my oven at 350 degrees.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  48. mike ca

    Vote out incumbents.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  49. George M

    Zero

    February 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  50. Robert Noble

    I think it will be tough getting anything done as the Republican's are having trouble dealing with a President that can speak coherent english.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  51. Aletia Morgan

    It certainly makes it unlikely for members of congress to have the strength to "do the right thing". Most likely, their beliefs are changed by these parasites as well.

    Where are the lobbyists for the public, for individuals?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  52. wayne

    Not at all possible, no, no, no. The American people are being taken for a ride as always.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  53. Mark

    The lobbyist need to be removed. Period. They are nothing but a distraction to the legislative process. Congress has enough to focus on without other pushing their own agendas.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  54. wzm

    About like getting milk out of a Billy goat

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  55. Scott Stodden

    Jack I can't give you an answer as to what's the chances for health care reform are but I just pray to God that he'll put it into the hearts of the people that are against passing health care because you and I both know as well as everyone else does that we need a comprehensive affordable public option for people that don't have health care and the way to pay for it is to raise taxes on people making $250,000 or more a year because that's the American way anything less our country will reckon the day we didnt pass health care under President Obama's administration. Republicans tried to lead the world for 8yrs and it didnt work we need heatlh care now, Enforce the reconciliation act now! America is tired of fighting we want action now!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  56. Derek

    Reform can happen, if the will of the citizens are placed ahead of hidden agendas

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  57. Nelson

    While lobbyists are often the most informed people on singular issues in capitol hill, they also have too much influence in bills which are this large, and let's not forget who writes the bills in the first place, which are often these very same lobbyists.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  58. Brian Riback - Waldwick, NJ

    Jack – I voted for Obama but have to tell you that this just completely pisses me off. Before healthcare, Toyota, or what Michelle Obama is wearing, why can't we fix this three wheeled car? Get rid of lobbyists (Unless they are pre-approved by committee and ONLY for non-profits), and prove to the American people that our government can place nice with each other. After that and only after that should they begin thinking about doing the work they were hired to do...for the people...not for the lobbyists.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  59. Chris Thompson

    None,
    Until we insulate congress from lobbyist money
    we have taxation without representation!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  60. Sue from Charlotte

    The chances are zero. How about requiring lawmakers to live in their districts, conduct congressional hearings via "go to meeting" type technology. This would keep them out of Washington, away from lobbyists, and in touch with their constituents. Crazy idea, but why not?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  61. gary ledoux

    OK ~ so the “Summit” was not so summit…how about passing these thru reconciliation:

    Single Payor
    Public Option
    Eliminate statutory prohibition on Medicare drug importation and price negotiation.
    Eliminate preexisting condition surcharges or refusal to insure.

    Pick any 3 and pass them separately.

    Gary leDoux
    Phoenix, AZ

    February 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  62. Robert in Florida

    Let's see, you have 100 supposedly intelligent people in the Senate, and another 435 in Congress, and they cannot figure out how to put together a health care plan? In business, you would fire them, right? Or maybe they are being influenced by lobbyists and looking at interests other than those of the public. In business, taking money like that to influence a decision, I think is called receiving a bribe?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  63. Sly, Alpena, Michigan

    It shows that money talks and the common person does not matter.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  64. Bill Cook

    What is the difference between lobbying and a bribe? A bribe is illegal.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  65. steve,

    Jack,

    Today health care reform, tomorrow will be a jobs bill. No matter what bill goes before the feds it is rarely ever in the best interest of "we the people". I've decided to purchase a restaurant !

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  66. Ken

    I am from Wyoming, and out here our Senators and Congressperson don't even have to try to hide the fact that they have been bought – too bad they don't represent any real people out here...

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  67. WWeeks NC

    Jack, I have never been under the delusion that congress hears the common man. This congress is missing all their ears, but not their mouth.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  68. mark aand Felice Tybee GA.

    Jack

    It depends how well they can sleep at night.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  69. Jack, Dayton, NV

    Reform? ... I got a better chance o' seein' God!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  70. Lucia Chappelle

    Oh, so THAT'S who those "constituents" they were all talking about are! After all, lobbyists are The American People, aren't they?
    Lucia, Los Angeles

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  71. Sharon Rasey

    One person's lobbyist is another's advocate. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of them is to outlaw them. Everyone would have to bite the bullet for the good of the country. Wouldn't that be nice for once?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  72. Ben Eubanks

    How can we have an honest government with lobbyist standing in the wing with both fists full of money?
    Bet G. Washington is turning over in his grave!
    Why is it when someone gets in office they think they are above the law?
    APPALLED

    February 25, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  73. Bill Denegar

    Jack, the answer is to vote all current members of congress out. The the ratio would then change from 8 – 1 to 8 – 0. Then all of that lobby money would be down the drain.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  74. Thomas K. Cole

    Party leaders to win political points keep their members in line. Pork, bills, working conditions, and committees are at stake to name some. Compromise is what the people are demanding, ask Sen. Brown. He got the message.

    The supply and demand principal that ran this country so long in a fair competitive way is broke. The insurance companies are protected with anti trust legislation. You get locked into insurance companies due to health circumstances, and not choice. There is no competition. Even the healthy are getting off plans due to expensive cost. The solution must include everybody paying and included with insurance. What's wrong with old fashion compromise.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  75. CHERYL Robinson

    Jack,
    I think you have put the finger on what is exactly wrong with our government!
    If there was a poll taken on what people think of lobbyists, I bet 90 some percent would agree that there shouldn't be any such thing as a lobbyist. All they are, are bribers!
    I thought bribery was against the law???.
    Lobbyists contribute nothing to the common welfare. Their whole reason for being is to bribe congress to pass legislation that makes laws to help them (THE FEW) as OPPOSED to what is best for all. Lobbyists and a weak congress are what's ruining our country!
    ..

    February 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  76. Molly

    As a Democrat, today's summit went well. But Obama's snub to McCain was undeserved and incorrect – I very much care about the process. Carve-outs and sweetheart deals are not acceptable compromises. Instead these behind the scenes deals compromise the integrity of the legislation and the legislature.

    Edison, NJ

    February 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  77. Tre'

    It seems there is "no" chance with the probable chance of a member of Congress being bought 8 times by lobbyist. Corruption at its finest...

    February 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  78. Dennis McKenna

    Jack-u r right on in ur comments about HC reform and lobbyists. We have no voice!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  79. steve,

    There is no chance of any real reform. I think the Prez said it best, "let the voters do the talking in NOVEMBER 2010".

    February 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  80. Damien

    None, no chance, nada. That has been the centrepiece of the problem in the American political system. Lobbyist are so far entrenched in the political system that any attempts to change that will end in failure just like the public option. One of Obama's campaign promise was to change this state of affairs but it has not been a priority in light of healthcare reform and the economy. Maybe he should have started with that and would have had a better chance passing healthcare reform.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  81. steve j

    100% chance Jack, only problem is it will be 0% effective for the american people, who will be paying for it.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  82. Todd L. Bauerle

    Answer: Slim to none & none just left town.

    We've seen the same rhetoric about health care reform with the same lingo for years. Single payer this...public option that. We've heard the complaints about malpractice and socialism.

    The bottom line is that health care is broken because insurance companies incentives are directed toward providing less care for people. These rich companies are the ones providing all the money to lobbyists. These are the same companies that now are un-capped in regards to the Supreme Court decision about corporate donations to national campaigns.

    This trend of lobbyists will continue into national elections with companies sponsoring the representatives that will ensure their business grows and is protected.

    The voice of the people is gone...eradicated by lobbyists and corporate interests.

    As Obama said today, "That's why we have elections..." to decide these issues. Well...now who is really voting.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  83. Cary Weiss

    Lobbyism is supposedly democratic. But the demarcation line between lobbyism and bribery is not an easy one to discern. If big industry can get things done to the detriment of the masses – is that democracy ?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  84. David Thomas

    The lobbyist-politician-media pundit triad is doing what King George failed to do – dividing and conquering the American experiment. Perhaps we need to revert to a monarchy after all. Is there such a thing as an elected Monarchy?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  85. Charles in Lawrence, NJ

    Campaign contributions are legal bribery and lobbyists are the bag men negotiators. Business interests run America through congress and extort cooperation from the electorate with threats to entitlements, jobs, retirement and investment funds, safe borders, currency stability etc. They sell protection just like the mob.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  86. Liz, Los Angeles, CA

    Jack:

    In the eyes of our self-anointed Royal Congress, the common man is about as extinct - and irrelevant - as dodo birds. What they don't realize is that dodo birds were pretty smart despite their name. So are we.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  87. Tim

    A better question is, how many politicians have a thorough understanding of the health care issue as opposed to trying to score political points with the voting public? The Founding Fathers would be disappointed if they saw the way we've let government run for the past several decades. Shame on us.

    Hazel Green, WI

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  88. S.Bennett

    Jack,
    I'm afraid the health care reform bill has about the same chance as a snowball in hell. I don't think that Congress really understands the plight of the average working family in regards to health care costs. Premiums going up, coverage going down, uncertainty for workers about whether or not their employer will even offer health care coverage, high prescription costs, high medical care costs–Congress doesn't have a clue–or they care more about health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. I wish we could take away Congress's health care plan until they figure out how to give us the same deal.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  89. Jay C

    Lobbyist ruin and exploit the rights of free speech. The for profit health care system , legally binds these corporations to create more profit every year. Corporations spend millions of your money to change laws to benefit them. So they can have more of your money. Lobbyist do the dirty work and reap financial rewards.There is no way Americans can expect changes to health care that benefit them.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  90. Estalene Harrington

    I was in hopes today would prove fruitful. I was wrong. I agree with the person who said that if we want to save the future for our children we women must get i;nvolved ; let our mothering insticts kick in, and let Congress know how we feel about them being more interested in getting elected again than doing the ppublic's business. :It i;s going to take some real ground swell!

    EH Harrington.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  91. Tom Adam

    There are two chances for health care reform with so many lobbists: damn slim and none.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  92. sharonlee

    Why does this happen and what do we do other than vote, 'cause voting ain't gettin the job done....how do you spell revolution

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  93. Cheryl Dixon

    Obviously 8 for 1??!! Money talks and the everyday joe WILL NOT be heard !😦 All common sense is falling on deaf ears of greedy persons
    As a registered nurse who worked in the hospital setting and now for 3 years in the government caring for the uninsured – I see ALOT of care going out to the uninsured!! I also see a LOT of waste that can be fixed but people dont care to take the time!!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  94. G

    There is minimal chance for real health care reform with the current structure in place, including the ratio of lobbyists to members of Congress and career politicians. I support Mr. President's choice of wanting to conduct the debate on Health Care such that the mass public gets the exact tone, wording and position of the individuals that are supposed to represent the People. I also believe the President is fulfilling his role in that his focus was on the elements that both parties agree and then calmly discussing the major points of contention. The People must stay in tune and continue to get educated on the important issues impacting the US and Global economies. Then they must vote for those candidates that run on a platform of major change.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  95. Calvin

    About as good of a chance as the best solution to our broken government becoming a reality. That being, imposing term limits on Congress.

    No more lobbyists buying the support of our elected officials with campaign contributions for re-election.

    No more studying polls to know how to vote and do what makes you look good to your district/state/party/base rather than what common sense tells you the country needs.

    No more reason to be bitter and petty obstructionists and sore losers. If you have a set number of days you can serve I'd like to think you would spend them wisely and not waste it;

    Its about time to give the people's branch back to the people.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  96. Ben Ramey

    Why can't we expose the link between the Political Action Committees, the money accepted by legislators, and their positions on health care reform. If congressional members are taking money from insurance lobbyists and voting against reform then it is pretty clear who is really running the country.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  97. Rick CONRAD

    Mr. Cafferty, I don't usually watch your show, but tonight's segment on CNN cut to the bone (please excuse the pun) of why we don't have the legislation we need to improve health care in this country - money.

    Our for-profit insurance industry has used our own health care payments to wage war on regulation and the return of our investment to better services.

    Will we make it to the single-payer plan, to the public option, to any reformative legislation whatsoever? Just follow the money!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  98. steve,

    Jack,

    The real question is whether any of those lobbiest were the people that the dem's talked about during todays summit. Man were those stories real tear jerkers......

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  99. Sheila, NJ

    We all know this is why stalling and killing the bill is the only option for some lawmakers... Just one more reason to use Reconciliation to get reform done for the American People. JUST GET IT DONE

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  100. Bill Bartell

    You raise a fundamental issue when it comes to legislators and lobbyists. This has been a long-standing problem, but never as blatantly displayed as pertaining to health insurance reform. It is truly despicable to watch and listen to v

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  101. John DeMartini

    The present debate has nothing to do with health care reform. they are merely rearranging the components of the present system. this would keep drug and food companies profits obscenely high while improving the health of the nation not one iota. The FDA should be doing their job regulating drugs and their tests and the additives food companies are putting in their products. Improving the health of the nation would drastically reduce costs. But since the lobbyists control Washington this is not going to happen.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  102. Derni

    I applaud your efforts to expose the problem the American people have in "being heard" by congress or the Senate when we have 8 lobbyists per DC politician. I suggest we have all WA DC politicians sign a contract that they will not talke any money from any corporation either directly or indirectly or via a 3rd party. I also suggest that ebvery senator be required to dress doen in "homeless clothing" and spend two weeks in a County Hospoital emergency room. And finally, they should be required to live with a family where bot paties or one is unemployed and have no health insurance due to pre-existing conditions-making decisioins in DC without experiencing the reality many families face daily isn't working for the Senate.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  103. Vicki

    Even without the lobbyists, we will still not get healthcare reform. All the people voting all have a healthcare plan that everyone would love to have. Maybe we need to take away the congress's healthcare plan and put them in the shoes of the average American. Want to bet they wouldn't fix the broken healthcare system then? Government run versus insurnace company run healthcare. Insurance companies will not be satisfied until they have all the money and are insuring only the healthy!!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  104. rod

    Jack,

    I'm unemployed, need a job and will say anything to anyone for the right amount of money.

    Where do you get one of these lobbying jobs?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  105. lynne j.

    There is a chance. But it depends on how the Democrats play chicken and just use reconciliation. But I'm not holding out any hope. I'll just continue to hope and wish for money to fall out of the sky where I can get my hands fixed where I'll be employable again after 14 years.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  106. Jake Tillamook, Oregon

    In order to change the status of lobbyists, we first must oust the 5 in the Supreme Court who decided that Corporations are living breathing voters when they are nothing more than entities that exist ONLY on paper. Who do they representanyway, The Executives, the Workers, or the stockholders?

    Think it's bad now, wait a couple years when the flood gates of cash are wide open. No need to vote anymore, corporate money covers all the bases.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  107. Patricia Hill

    There has NEVER been a chance of meaningful healthcare reform - and I'm 55 years old, so I know. There is too much money at stake for the health insurance industry, and our politicians are the gutless wonders of our age. But here's the truth. We get the government - and the policies - we deserve. Basically, we're a nation of blowhards. God forbid anyone asks us to put down the remote and actually go out and do something to change things. Until people decide that they want rational, affordable health care for themselves and (here's the crucial part) for their fellow Americans, nothing will change.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  108. YohannonFairbairn-Wallis

    Dear Jack:

    A lot can be said about inefficient administration both in healthcare, and in congress. This past year is pretty much a wash when it comes to the amount of time wasted on healthcare in the time spent creating the dozen or so plans from the House and Senate, that I propose we start outsourcing the process of compiling the bills themselves, as an overhaul of the overhaul of healthcare administration and insurance to the think tanks which in many cases are the sources for facts and figures used to backup reasons for a particular change. This would effectually cut out the influence lobbyists have on congress, something everyone always calls for, yet never seems to happen. Outsourcing the process of compiling the bills themselves could also elliminate what we call "pork." For instance, I would love to find out exactly how much money has been spent so far on this past year's attempts to pass healthcare reform legislation to find out the hourly cost of running Congress.

    Sincerely,
    Yohannon Fairbairn-Wallis
    Hudson Valley New York

    February 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  109. Brian Eagen

    There is absolutely no feasible chance of actual health care "reform", that is to say in the best interests of the people of the US, of actually being passed in Congress in anyone's lifetime. The combination of partisan politics, special interest lobbying and two-faced politicians will make health care reform just a show pony to be trotted out every generation. We need actual reform now, in my lifetime, before I get old enough to go on Medicare, that is if that isn't dead by then.

    Brian Eagen, Woodland Park, NJ

    February 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  110. Joanna Samford

    There can be no health care reform as long as congress refuses to get along and compromise. I have recieved letters from one senator from my district and 2 representives all 3 saying they will not accept any health care reform unless we start all over. I have military insurance. I cannot find primary care drs. My neighbor has to choose between her lipitor or her daughters adhd medicine. Congress is out of touch with real people. We do not have the choices they talk about. You select a doctor from a list and hope they still accept you're insurance. If you are wealthy you have choices. Now my home owners insurance is going up 15% even as property values go down. Where does it end? In order to make a living my husband has been in Iraq for 2 years and we thank god for that job. So many more are out of work. I do not believe we can proceed with health care as long as congress stonewalls. STOP and listen to us. Thanks

    February 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  111. Phil Henderson

    Gosh Jack, I thought doing lobbyists bidding was what we elected them to do. At least that's what good ole family members Tom Coburn and Oily Jim Inhoffe seem to think.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  112. Jim

    The same chance as finding a congressman who hasn't accepted campaign funds from a lobbyist. The same chance as outlawing private funding of campaigns.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  113. Lawrence Schiber

    It's American. Health insurance companies are making a great profit off of ill folks. "Profit is good", or was that "Greed is good". Get rid of the insurance companies....

    February 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  114. Dan Fontana

    "8 lobbyists for each Congress member" EXACTLY. Each side is quoting polls. Demanding that Congress get something done on health care AND Starting From Scratch are not mutually exclusive.

    Pass a bill with what there is agreeement on NOW, within days. If it takes locking these whining clowns in a room (without lobbyists) until they figure out the rest, fine.

    The current bill clearly is a product of a broken process. It is insane to risk the health care delivery for 250 million people to plug a hole when there is not even agreement of how many are truly uninsured - as opposed to not needing coverage because they are under another policy, or not using coverage like Medicaid because it is too complicated.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  115. Steve Pease

    Jack, I only make about 60k per year (construction – out of work for 6 months), I can't afford the representative I have now. If he has 8 lobbists what do you think my chances are ?! Best government money can buy.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  116. Brian

    The democrats will pass a "Reform" bill because B.O. desperately needs them to, but it won't contain any true reform....too many special interests (lobbyists) in the process.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  117. Ed Hansen

    Jack,
    The prospect of health care reform is looking dismal. When you have individuals and corporations with deep pockets influencing our leaders in congress, How can the average citizen compete with that kind of money flying around? I think lobbying should be abolished, and a spotlight should be put on all congress men and woman as well as politcal affiliations accepting these bribes. No matter how you carve it up, these are bribes.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  118. Noel Jones

    Dear Jack–

    Could you please do a daily segment as an extension of this question, that reveals, member by member of congress, precisely how much each has received in campaign donations from lobbyists for pharma companies, insurance companies, and medical supply companies? I think it would be edifying for us all to see just how much both Democrats and Republicans are receiving from these industries that profit under the status quo. Congressmen on both sides have accepted campaign donations from these lobbyists, and they almost have to, to pay for the advertising needed to run a successful race at the national level, but the segment would best serve the people if it highlighted the difference in donations and who is getting the most money from these industries. It would also be great if you could post the appropriate site whereby any American can look up this information for herself.

    Noel Jones
    Easton, PA

    February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  119. el don Rodrigo

    Hey Jack,

    The simple answer is malignancy. Lobbyist are the cancer that needs to be irradiated from our way of life. Look, I used the words malignancy, cancer and irradiated and they are are all related to Lobbyist. There is nothing good about that diagnosis. When you are sick you get rid of the problem as fast as possible.

    el don Rodrigo

    February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  120. G

    If the Health Care discussion moves to "reconciliation", this process should be on TV so that the people can watch the process.
    Baton Rouge, La

    February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  121. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Eight lobbyist, ten lobbyist aren't going to stop healthcare reform, no not this time. Which will prove there are more ways to skin a lobbyist than one.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  122. Jerry Verlinger

    It is becoming obvious that it makes little difference which Party is in power because our government no longer runs his country. This Country is run by the huge corporations that sustain and control our economy, our jobs and our health care.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  123. LaVonda Patterson

    I think that since the tax payers are paying for HEALTHCARE for our "GREAT" representatives,WE should be able to decide if they should be dropped from their health plans.I think if we drop them now,and tell them when they get a plan for "ALL",then they get their coverage back.That is if it's not too expensivefor the taxpayers.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  124. Kevin in CA

    The lobbyists are only as successful as the Congress is accepting of them. The problem is YOUR elected Congress person.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  125. Bob Abrams

    Jack,

    The lobbyists own the politicians all the way to the top. Ironically, I remember President Obama making promises on the campaign trail about fixing that problem. Unfortunately, his campaign was funded by lobbyists, just like the other politicians.

    Until we stop empowering politicians and lobbyists, the American interest will never be served. Legislation needs to be passed to make contributions from lobbyists illegal and have penaltieswith teeth for those who are caught violating the law.

    Only problem is, who is going to come up with this legislation? The lawmakers who accept contributions?

    Bob in Florida

    February 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  126. Joan Stone

    I am thoroughly disgusted by the allowing of lobbyists for any reason in Washington. Why can't they be illegal like payola was for the radio stations? Maybe then we would have a chance to be heard.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  127. Jan V. - Layton, UT

    Isn't taking money or gifts from any lobbyist the same as the average employee taking a bribe? This may be "business as usual" to Congress, but to me, it's nothing more than a bribe. If I took money or gifts of any type to make sure the company I was employed by threw business in that vendor's direction and the company found out what I'd done, I'd be fired.

    Time to fire every single person who has been elected who has taken these bribes because that's what they are.

    Jan – Layton, Utah

    February 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  128. joe pascarella

    on the subject of lobbying and finding out that there were enough lobbyists to account for about eight for each congressmen , no wonder the public option did not have a chance !!! why would the insurance companies spend this amount of money to try and prevent public option !!! why are they afraid of public option !!! it seems to me that there would be no difference between lobbying and bribery !!!!! how can any public official or congressman accept this kind of money and still claim to be supporting the american citizen !!!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  129. Doug Fisichella

    Jack,

    Its depressing. We have proven that the only thing that matters in our market based political system, is money. The public doesn't seem to have a friend any more. All we have is our vote and it has been proven there to that the only thing that counts is money. The better funded campaign wins regardless of ideas more often than I care to think about. The most advertised foods are what we buy the most, as with every other type of product.

    The American people need to wake up and look at what is going on here. We need to stop being swayed by whatever is on the TV the most. That is our responsibility. Repeating something doesn't make it true and you guys are allowing yourselves to be used to promote whatever is being screamed the loudest without pointing out the lies. This is what we need from you.

    Its not enough to talk about what Dick Cheney says. you have to point out that it's not true. Instead of just reporting that some senator says the health care bill will kill all of our grandmothers you have to emphasize that he is lying! We need you guys to start standing up for yourselves.

    You are our voice.

    Speak up...

    February 25, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  130. Larry

    Remote. Obviously lobbying has a important function. But why are no laws and regulations applied to it? As humans we realize how we respond to money. It's like putting food in a fish aquarium. It's a reflex action to take it. It's hard to get the right things done when money is influencing the decisions made.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  131. Annie, Atlanta

    Not a chance. I'd like to know when bribery was legalized. We need to get corporate interests out of the halls of Congress. I'm afraid it would be easier, however, to get the rats and roaches out of NYC.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  132. Johnny Rivera

    The goverment is definitly broken. It is no longer the goverment of the people. There is very little we can do since the rich and powerfull controls goverment, police, military, and so on. We can not even revolt.

    I know George Washington would be ashame to call himslef amercian if see what is going on.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  133. larry

    jack, unless lobbyists group's start thinking about the american people, instead of themselves. i don't believe we'll get health care reform!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  134. Doreen Suran RN Bellevue, WA

    What is the difference between graft in third world countries and campaign lobbeying in America? Nothing. Soon we will have a third world health care system... available for the rich in private clinics and the poor left to die on the streets.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  135. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ- This is not new. Every bill is a compromise between all the actively involved vested interests. Some lobbyists represent a public, not private, interest, like AARP, the Taxpayers Union, and the ACLU. Without 218 votes in the House, 60 solid votes in the Senate, and the Presidency all in one party caucus, every Public Law is a compromise, no exceptions, and there have only been fourteen years in our history when a majority like that existed. Lobbyists are part of the system, under the right to petition the government. The People have two recourses – direct pressure on their Senator and Representative to counteract the health care lobby, and total disregard of all the lying ads on television. The "government" is not broken, the Senate is merely deadlocked, something the voters can fix this fall simply by voting in more members of the majority.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  136. Richard in Orrtanna, PA

    John; it can be done, you just need real people with a backbone and not career politians.
    Removing the government option was the biggest mistake they are making, now what ever happens the insurance companies are going to benefit.
    Tort reform, cut off the wrong leg of a Republican and let's see how much they want to limit "a pain and suffering settlement".

    February 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  137. Mary-Faith

    As things stand now, little or no chance, but...

    An idea to even the playing field.

    Create and maintain a nonpartisan web page that provides up-to-date information regarding lobbyist's donations to all politicians and their families. For instance, how much did the insurance industry give to Joe Lieberman and his wife? These numbers could be included in a small window whenever a politician speaks to a pertinent issue on TV.

    Disclosing this accurate and timely information might change the way things are done on Capitol Hill. Or at least cause some embarrassment.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  138. Chad from Los Angeles

    What do you expect from the Corporatocracy we live in?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  139. John

    Probably not gonna happen. Politicians are disconnected from rthe reality of the common man.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  140. Louis Carvalho, Tiverton, RI

    It looks like we will have Obamacare. Hopefully, the democrats will pay dearly for their action. Then, come next year, the republicans can modify the bill to a Health Care Bill everyone can live with.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  141. JAMES BRADLEY

    Taxation without representation was the motive for the people to revolt against England in 1776.

    Unless a voter owns lobbyists, he is no longer represented in the USA.

    How can we again revolt peacefully against taxation without representation?

    Can we save our country from the greed which dominates our society?

    February 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  142. LuLu

    We don`t have a snowballs chance in he-double tooth pick..
    Why bother calling them lobbyists? Call them for what they are, Shady crooks, who blackmail an bribe the politicians in power, to the point where all that remains is "gridlock.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  143. Brenda Jo

    I think lobbyists are nothing but bribers. Congressional members do what the lobbyists want so they don't lose their GOLDEN EGGS. Lobbyists are ruining our government and our country. Nothing gets done for the people thanks to them.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  144. Ed from California

    I just received an email from my US Rep about this very subject. Anyone caught influencing votes should be punished , and that goes for both sides.

    In 1995 the "Lobbying Disclosure Act" was passed, it basically says that the lobbyist has to disclose all monies that are paid out to Congress and the Senate. And the Lobbyist must be registered and report certain identifying information and financial information.

    The "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act" was passed in 2007. Basically the lobbyists has to disclose all money paid to all campaign's. If not, they can go to jail for five years along w/a big fine up to $200,000.

    Jack, settle down. This President acted presidential today, and it's about time. We need to get the cost of Medical Insurance under control, or we will all be sorry. The cost of Health Care as with everything else isn't going down anytime soon.

    Go check out the price of gas!!! That needs to be discussed!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  145. C. Wilson

    Why are the insurance companies allowed to act as monopolies???? This should be addressed immediately. Then maybe there would be competitive capitalistic pricing. We have given them full permission for all the outrageous increases in premiums.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  146. Beth Lueck

    As a practicing RN for the last 36 years, this just makes me sick!!! I am passionately in support of Health Care Reform, and find our current practice of making a profit on sick people immoral. Years ago we had very few proprietary hospitals, and a lot less lawyers too. I think we could cut costs by going back to regulating the hospitals, limiting liability awards, and offering the poor clinics. I have a plethora of pragmatic ideas. Too bad I am not a lobbyist. How does one become one anyway? I am a very tired, but still working nurse.

    I don't think anything has gone up as much as the price of Health Care. Not even gas. Funny though, the cost of health care isn't included in in the inflation rate. Beth from Myrtle Beach, SC

    February 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  147. x911x

    About the same chance I'll win Powerball without buying a ticket. The founding fathers left us a solution to endless corruption and gridlock in The Declaration of Independence. We certainly have "a long train of abuses and usurpations" and anything less than the public option denies many Americans their fundamental right to a healthy, happy life. "under absolute Despotism" it is OUR right, it is OUR duty, to throw off THIS Government, and to provide new Guards for OUR future security. Its about time the American people get informed and get on board with a national health care system. Its shameful that every other industrialized, first-world country has figured this out and the uneducated American 'rabble' even permit the political spin machine and healthcare industry lobbyists to dictate public policy. When Americans finally rise up, getting re-elected will be the least of these politicians' worries. (Nate, Bremerton, WA)

    February 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  148. Vernon

    We haven't seen anything yet. With the Supreme Court lastest ruling on free speech for Corporations the Country is officially "USA, Inc." now!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  149. Jo P

    I suggest that effective March 1, 2010,
    all government provided health insurance for every senator and representative and their dependants be canceled.
    They would then have to get and pay for their own insurance (taking into consideration pre-existing conditions and exorbitant premiums) and fight with the insurance companies like the rest of us.
    I'd be willing to guess that they would pass health care reform within 30 days!

    Jo Perugini
    Culver City, CA

    February 25, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  150. Jasmine in Germany

    This country has become so capitalistic that one can't call it democratic anymore. People are much too greedy, selfish, and power hungry. I believe Obama had and still has good intentions to fight corruption and the lobby system in Washington, but it's very difficult to do with the tactics the opposition is using to sabotage success for the President and consequently the American people. Yes, the GOP places a higher value on regaining their political power than on the long-term health, education, welfare and economic strength of the nation as a whole. They've refined their tricks and tools to delay most major legislation. The GOP big-boys club just doesn't want to share their toys...sad indeed. Maybe they should all spend some time doing community work in a big city so they get the picture of what the USA might look like in another 100 years. We've got an intelligent president with vision – let him do his job.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  151. Carl

    Jack,
    Before our country can stand on it's own feet again, many things need to change. Like all our greedy corrupt piliticians saleries, paid time off, 2 day work weeks, huge obscene pension plans, totally paid for by the tax payer s insurance plans, and also term limits. These politicial leeches make far to much money and have far to many perks and lobbyists. Lets start getting rid of these worthless political leeches who only care about themselves.

    I live in the corrupt state of Illinois

    February 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  152. Frank

    There will never be a health care bill passed that will be worth the paper it is written on with the lobbyist situation as it is. Do people realy think that these companies donate millions to political parties and or lobbyists for the love of country. That also goes for unions and other special interests. You want to fix Health care and social security, Put congress and all goverenment workers on exactly the same programs. Absolutely nothing more than then the public gets. Both political parties are taking money and pulling in different directions because of it.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  153. skip

    The most troubling is that everyone knows how lobbyist corrupt our political process and we yet it continues year after year . Our politicians need to be held accountable . The whole poltical process is so corrupt , a citizens group should be appointed to oversee the conduct of our so trusted officials and have the authority to fire them . I for one am tired of the lies and deception , if they cannot polce themselves then we as citizens must take on that responsibility .

    February 25, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  154. Gigi Oregon

    None! We don't have a chance the only thing we can do is lay down and die. Or If we all canceled our insurance and said enough is enough. I'll bet they would get a good, clean health care package. The rich, churches, insurance companies, etc. can afford to pay lobbyist to keep us poor and humble.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  155. walt

    I argree not humanity money.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  156. Betts

    No. Lobbying by profit driven forces is the reason the "system" and all hope for future reform for anything is absolutely broken. Take a look at the FDA. In the mid-ninety's big Pharma pushed for the introduction of stronger narcotic medications. They were allowed to lie to doctors about the "safety" of using pain medications more liberally. They told patients that less than 1% of chronic pain patients become addicted. 15 years later, after scores of federal and state so-called hearings and investigations, not to mention thousands of unintended deaths, we have a national epidemic of drug addiction coming from legal prescriptions. Prescription drug addiction/use far surpasses heroin, cocaine and meth, combined. Florida is the capitol prescription narcotics and pain clinics. The suffering this greed has caused doesn't seem to make a difference. My conclusion is that lobbying IS the "system". And now thanks to the supreme court, they will be allowed to protect thier investments by putting more money into the propaganda that puts idiots into office. What a shameful, hidden, "reality" show.
    Betts (Chicago)

    February 25, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  157. ANTHONY

    We need to out law lowlife lobbists all lobbist

    February 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  158. CJ Bradley

    Jack, I was layed off 3 months ago and lost my health insurance. I make $330 a week on unemployment and have $800 a month in health care and medication costs. If things like keeping a roof over my head, having transportation (to find a new job) maintaining state required car insurance (so I can drive the car) oh a lest we forget power and basic cable so I could watch the healthcare debate would cost just $400.... Then everything would be fine. But then there is that silly eating thing and that pushes it over the edge. I guess we need health care reform.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  159. Tom from Vermilion, Ohio

    Regarding the Health Care Summit, a number of the politicions were thanking each other for jobs well done and preceeding their "substantive" comments they proclaimed "the United States has the BEST Health Care System in the world". According to "World Health Care Organization", the United States Ranks 37th overall; Heath Life Expectancy, 24th; Health Performance, 72nd; Most Doctors per Capita, 52nd. There was one catagory that the United States was pretty darn good at, Total Health Expenditures as % of GDP, USA Rank, 2nd! Those 8 lobbyists/congressperson. I'll bet that's where the that USA is number one belief comes from. We need to get that number 2 ranking to number one ASAP.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm |