Closed Doors and Revolving Doors on Health Care

"Some of the most influential aides in the closed-door Senate Finance Committee negotiations over health care reform have ties to interests that would be directly affected by the legislation," reports Committee Chair Max Baucus' senior counsel, Liz Fowler, previously "worked as a highly paid public policy adviser for WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest publicly traded health benefits company." Senator Jeff Bingaman's health policy adviser, Frederick Isasi, "was a registered lobbyist at Powell Goldstein, where his clients included public hospitals and the American Stroke Association." Beyond the Senate Finance Committee, "a number of former lobbyists, consultants and advisers for firms that represent consumers, patients, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers are now in key positions in the House and Senate. ... And according to the group Public Accountability Initiative ... more than 500 former congressional aides have gone on to become health care lobbyists."