The best modern-day case of crony-Capitalism is probably the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or as it is commonly referred to as, ObamaCare, a bill that penalizes people who choose not to buy insurance from a private provider. This act essentially creates millions of new customers for the insurance companies. On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal government does not have the Constitutional right to mandate that people must buy health insurance from a private company. However, it does have the right to tax those that don't, according to the Supreme Court. Therefore, it upheld the Act.
The poster child for this immoral merger of big business and government would have to be the "architect" of ObamaCare, Elizabeth Fowler. In 2001, Fowler was working as chief health policy counsel under Montana Sentator Max Baucus, until 2006, when she departed for a two-year stint at health insurance company WellPoint, only to return to the Senate in 2008, again working on health policy for Senator Baucus, where she would end up being a main player in the Senate health care negotiations that would eventually bring us Obamacare. Senator Baucus had even singled out Fowler as the person who layed the "foundation" and the "blueprint" of what eventually became ObamaCare.
(Sidenote: WellPoint, Inc. is the largest managed health care, for-profit company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, a federation of 38 separate health insurance organizations and companies in the United States. Combined, they directly or indirectly provide health insurance to over 99 million Americans.)
|Senator Max Baucus|
Without digressing too much away from Elizabeth Fowler, let's quickly take a look at Senator Baucus. When it comes to health care, and health lobbyists, Baucus isn't just any senator. He is known as Mr. Health Care, and one of the top politicians credited for bringing us ObamaCare. Since 1998, he has collected more than $5.1 million in campaign contributions from the insurance, pharmaceutical and nursing industries, making him one of the health care sector's most heavily backed lawmakers. Arguably more important than money, however, are the long-running staff ties that Baucus maintains with the health care industry. According to congressional staff records, 34 former Baucus staffers are currently registered to lobby Congress, and almost a third of them work on health care issues. Montana Senator Max Baucus is an obvious shill of the pharmaceutical industry.
Back to Elizabeth Fowler, after laying the "foundation" for ObamaCare, she went back to work for WellPoint, Inc., but only for a short period, up until 2010, when she made the move back into politics, and was appointed by Obama to oversee the implementation of her Obamacare legislation.
It was now announced this week that "Elizabeth Fowler is leaving the White House for a senior-level position leading 'global health policy' at Johnson & Johnson's government affairs and policy group."
Johnson & Johnson is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, and through its contributions to the PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America) lobby, Johnson & Johnson directly supported the passage of ObamaCare.
While ObamaCare was being debated, the Huffington Post reported, "the president's team cut a deal with the industry's lobby arm that limited the government's ability to negotiate for cheaper drug prices. In exchange, the lobby arm, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), backed the legislation." Lobbyists beat back proposals to allow importation of low-cost medicines and to have Medicare negotiate drug prices with companies.
It should also be noted that Senator Max Baucus, was one of the biggest critics against 'the public option', a proposed government-run health insurance agency which would compete with other health insurance companies. The big insurance companies were also against a public option, because this would create competition. The big insurance companies got what they wanted again, the public option was not implemented.
So now Elizabeth Fowler is going to work for a company, that just benefited, in a tremendous way, by the actions of Fowler, while she was serving under an elected official in the Senate. Elizabeth Fowler is a perfect example of the problem in America that is the revolving door between big corporations and government.
We need to be aware of how our government is operating. Our "representatives" only represent those with the money to support their election campaign. Government "officials" are given too much power, in my opinion. We need to limit the reach of government into our private affairs, and get the money out of politics.
Watch this video of Bill Moyers exposing Elizabeth Fowler: