07/23/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lobbying & Universal Health Care

I am one of the lucky ones; my partner's employer provides us both the option to pay for health insurance, and at the same time, I don't believe in insurance on principle. It's a racket really. The insurance industry is based on the lunatic notion that if I will pay money toward "just in case," then just in case will not cost me.

Given that, I have to say that I am thoroughly at sea about the health insurance proposals wafting and zinging around the country. I don't understand what's wrong with the "public option." I don't understand why private insurers are feeling threatened; they make a bloody fortune no matter the economy. I don't understand how public and/or private options will affect our health care options.

But I do understand this: The AMA increased its lobbying budget by 40% this year. 40%.

Lobbying is so named because those who seek to influence the votes of those in legislative bodies used to be confined only to the ante-rooms of those bodies. They couldn't get into the inner sancta. There was and is a good reason for this, and it applies to health care and so much more about our government.

The reason I don't understand all the permutations of what is on the table for health care is because it's unduly and consistently influenced by special interest groups. I even belong to some myself. (AARP, as an example) Every time someone proposes one option, some group or other becomes the squeakiest wheel until the proposal is twisted so out of shape that it's unrecognizable and functionally disabled.

Why? Lobbyists. Most especially, and God forgive them, the AMA, that institution which not only swears to do no harm, but also assures we the public that they have our best interests at heart. I beg to differ. Lobbyists, just like all those who advocate in behalf of others, have their clients' best interests at heart, and their clients are a tiny portion of we the people. Not only that but I'd venture to guess that not only do all AMA lobbyists have health insurance, but so do all AMA members. Who do they think they're kidding? And don't get me started on the insurance lobby.

There's a reason lobbyists are confined to the front hall of the building. It's because the sanctity of the legislative body must not be breached. Strange, isn't it, that we call them legislative bodies? I'd like to keep the AMA and insurance lobbies out of my health care options (and my own body) thank you very much, until we resolve this issue of health care for all of we the people.

Mr. Obama et al, would you consider a one-year moratorium on lobbying? Across the board would be best, but if not that, then just in the arena of universal health care? Even better, if just confined to health care, until we actually have universal health care in this country?

I'm not holding my breath, but oh, what a genuine dialogue we could have! And what amazing possibilities there might be when citizens are encouraged to speak up with their ideas for one another. We might even change the nature of the debate entirely from universal health insurance to actual universal health care.

For spiritual nourishment, visit Susan Corso's website at