Clueless Industry Lobbyists

11/24/2009 04:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mike Lux Co-Founder, Democracy Partners

You gotta love the industry guys who make millions (or tens of millions, or sometimes hundreds of millions) on the system as it currently exists who don't understand why anybody else has a problem with it. Like the health care CEO who vastly overpaid for Blue Dog Congressman Mike Ross' business who, in describing our health care system, said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Or the banker who said about Democratic banking reform proposals, "We don't think that as far as regulation of banks is concerned, that solves any problems we had. The checks and balances under the current system are pretty good."

Then there are the industry lobbyists who demand a major change in law without wanting to give up anything in return. One of the best examples from the health care fight is the AMA, which whines incessantly about curbing medical malpractice lawsuits while never being willing to do anything serious about the thing which would actually curb lawsuits, which is to clean up problems with bad doctors and inferior quality of care. There are 98,000 deaths a year from preventable medical accidents, and a great many of those are by doctors who have screwed up repeatedly. Maybe if the AMA had aggressive plans to shut down the medical practice of bad doctors and otherwise improve the quality of care, then all the complaints about those horrible juries and those nasty family members who sue doctors that kill their relatives could be taken a little more seriously.

Industry leaders oblivious to the harm people - and our economy, and our health care system - are suffering because of the messed up system should think a little more before they complain about attempts to reform the system for the better. Just because your industry is making a ton of money doesn't mean that the system is working peachy-keen for the rest of us.

Industry lobbyists need to learn what for most regular legislators and Hill staffers is what they live with every day: you have to give something real up to get a real benefit. Insurers, you are going to get 40 million or so new customers, subsidized by the federal government, but you're going to have to accept competition from a public plan. Bankers, we just saved your ass, so you're going to need to let us regulate you. Docs, we're giving you lots of new customers too, plus we're open to creative solutions on medical malpractice, but first get rid of your incompetent and alcoholic doctors.

See how this works? It's simple, it's easy, and everyone comes away with something in hand.