For a disheartening example of how intense lobbying and financial contributions can distort the legislative process in Washington, consider what happened to the “fiscal cliff” bill approved three weeks ago by Congress.
Fiscal Footnote: Big Senate Gift to Drug Maker (January 20, 2013)
Opinion Twitter Logo.
Connect With Us on Twitter
For Op-Ed, follow @nytopinion and to hear from the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, follow @andyrNYT.
Senators who play a major role in federal health care financing were happy to help Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, evade Medicare cost-cutting controls by delaying price restraints on a class of drugs used by kidney dialysis patients, including Sensipar, a drug made by Amgen. That provision was inserted into the final fiscal bill by Senate aides. Many members of Congress did not know it was in the bill until just hours before it was approved.
Although other companies will benefit financially from that delay, Amgen, which has 74 lobbyists in Washington, was the only company to lobby aggressively for the provision. The delay will cost the Medicare program up to $500 million over a two-year period.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment