White House spokesman Robert Gibbs expressed some annoyance yesterday that lobbyists were clued in to the health care plan proposed by Sen. Max Baucus' Finance Committee before the White House and other lawmakers.
Gibbs said he was told that "K Street had a copy of the Baucus plan, meaning, not surprisingly, the special interests have gotten a copy of the plan that I understand was given to committee members today," The Hill reported.
This is old hat for the Sunlight Foundation's Paul Blumenthal. Many of Baucus' former staffers now work as health care industry lobbyists and two former lobbyists work on his committee staff. Blumenthal pointed out that Baucus' chief health aide, Elizabeth Fowler, a former executive at insurance giant Wellpoint, is likely the author of her boss' health reform plan.
So, let me get this straight. A former lobbyist for a health insurance company writes a health reform plan, which is then leaked to lobbyists, some of whom were likely former Baucus staffers, and public disclosure is delayed by a couple of days -- the plan was released to the media and lobbyists over the past few days but only posted to the Finance Committee web site today. To paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks, it just doesn't sound good when you walk it out.
-- Jenna Staul