Now that health care legislation has passed, special interest groups — insurance and pharmaceutical companies, seniors, businesses, abortion rights opponents – are gearing up to influence the way specific provisions are implemented.
Agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services need to draft regulations that govern implementation. This is where lobbyists can exert their influence. There’s a summary of this activity in an article today from The Associated Press.
Voters can participate in the action too. Conservatives are pushing for ballot initiatives that will block the individual mandate: the requirement that most people purchase health insurance in 2014. If conservative initiatives draw large numbers of supporters to the polls, the 2010 election may allow Republicans in Congress to scale back the impact of health care reform.
There’s a bright side to this picture, however. Progressives could add their own ballot choices to the November election, including a call for the public option. That would attract many liberals and independents who were disappointed in the centrist provisions of reform. It might even bring us one step closer to universal health care, like all the other nations in the developed world.
Obama and health care: Deal making with lobbyists
Civil disobedience and the individual mandate
The Supreme Court and health care repeal politics
Reaction to health care: A step backwards
Déjà vu: Historical resistance to the inequities of health
Health inequities, politics, and the public option
The public option has a pulse
Without the public option, it’s not health care reform
(Links will open in a separate window or tab.)
Alan Fram, The Influence Game: Health care fight still rages,The Associated Press, April 16, 2010