On last night's The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert took aim at the way the health care reform bill has been impacted by lobbyists -- which is to say that lobbyists are dominating the decision-making process of legislators, because those legislators want to take their money and get re-elected, circle of life et cetera.
Colbert cited Pat Roberts, who sued for further decision-making delays, saying, "The thing I'm trying to point out, is that we would have at least 72 hours for the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all of the legislation that we pass around here, and the regulations that we pass around here, to say, 'Hey, wait a minute. have you considered this?'" Colbert accurately translated this from the original obfuscation into English: "See, all he wants is some time for health care lobbyists to change the bill."
"Folks," Colbert continues, "There are some things that everybody knows, but nobody says." That is exactly right. Every single person who covers the legislative process knows exactly how and why the sausage gets made in the way it does. Moneyed corporate interests purchase legislation in exchange for getting incumbents re-elected. This is playing out in the arena of health care reform. If you've gotten the funny feeling that Congress is about to pass some weak tea, and that President Barack Obama is about to sign that weak tea, and that everyone will follow that up by celebrating the historical kicking of the can down the road -- you are absolutely right. And the reason this will happen is that the health care industry has paid handsomely for this to happen.
But, as Colbert points out, this is one of those things that nobody talks about because the media would rather tell you what political side is winning and which one is losing because it's way more fun than simply reporting, every day, that the American people are getting jacked. I imagine the fact that the press would actually prefer to facilitate further conversations between politicians and lobbyists at Katherine Weymouth's house, with crudites, further impacts this problem.
Colbert, thankfully, is nothing if not an it-getter: "It's time for lawmakers like Max Baucus to stop hiding their relationships and start printing bumper stickers like these: "Max Baucus: I take more money from the health care lobby than anyone in congress." Funny because it's sad, because it's true. But, shhhhh. Please do not disturb all of the delicate whoring that's going on at the Senate Finance Committee.
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