Sharks have swarmed the Congressional waters as historic health care reform is tackled.---
Whether or not health care reform passes, the amount of money spent on the debate is mind-boggling. According to a report from bloomberg.com, there are six lobbyists for every members of Congress working on health care, and it is growing every day. For perspective, that is three times the ratio for lobbyists working on defense spending.
No side is exempted, as even advocates of the public option have spent tens of millions of dollars. However, the sheer fact that companies are willing to spend money hand over fist to shape this bill should be a warning to those of us who currently survive with the existing system about how much money insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital corporations are making off of us.
A good rule of thumb with most legislation, either at the federal or state level: the more lobbyists involved in fighting or changing a bill, the better off the existing bill probably is for average Americans.
What will really be the outcome of this lobbyist blitz? Delay and dilution. As more voices get thrown in, the more chaotic the reform will become, and lawmakers will begin losing their appetite for the fight. In the end, an exceptionally watered-down bill with lots of study options, delayed implementations, and concessions to the private sector will pass, but nobody will want credit.