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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Health Care Lobbying

Many blog posts have discussed the revolving door between government and lobbying.  The Hill reports:
ObamaCare has become big business for an elite network of Washington lobbyists and consultants who helped shape the law from the inside.
More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010.
"Healthcare lobbying on K Street is as strong as it ever was, and it's due to the fact that the Affordable Care Act seems to be ever-changing," [headhunter Ivan] Adler said. "What's at stake is huge. ... Whenever there's a lot of money at stake, there's a lot of lobbying going on."
“Congress is easy to watch,” said Tim LaPira, a politics professor at James Madison University who researches the government affairs industry, “but agencies are harder to watch because their actions are often opaque. This leads to a greater demand on K Street” for people who understand the fine print, he said.
“K Street's agenda follows the government's agenda. It's not typically the other way around," he said.
Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) joined Alston & Bird in 2011 after dealing with healthcare and tax issues as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Now Pomeroy and his one-time chief of staff, Bob Siggins, are lobbying on ObamaCare for clients such as clients such as Vision Service Plan, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans and Medicare — a health insurance provider.
Former senior counsel to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Dora Hughes became a senior policy adviser at the law firm Sidley Austin last year. 
Hughes is not a registered lobbyist, and told The Hill she mainly provides “strategic policy advice” while abiding by the ethics pledge not to lobby the administration. She has no congressional contacts in her sights, either.