Sunday, September 29, 2013

Republican Obamacare corruption

By Frank Moraes

As I point out a lot, conservatives are against Obamacare because it raises taxes on the rich. There is no more to it. One of the main ones is a new excise tax on certain medical devices. Companies that make and import medical devices hate this 2.5% tax. So they have been lobbying Congress hard. And guess way? It's working! Yesterday, the House voted for a continuing resolution that delays Obamacare for one year and permanently repeals a tax on medical devices.

Lee Fang at The Nation wrote a great article yesterday, Tea Party Lawmaker Letter on Med Device Tax Repeal Authored by Lobby Group. As he reports, after the Republicans took over the house at the start of 2011, 75 Tea Party House members wrote a letter to Boehner in which they demanded that the medical device tax be repealed. Clearly, this was not about the people and their freedom to get the Best Healthcare in the World.™

But Fang has more to report than this. He looked at the metadata on the document and under "author" it said, "Ryan Strandlund." Who is he? A congressman? A congressional staffer? Of course not! He is "a member of AdvaMed's government affairs team." And AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association) is a lobbying group for the medical device industry. But there's more! Until recently, Boehner's deputy chief of staff was Brett Loper—a former AdvaMed lobbyist. (In June, he went back to lobbying in an official capacity.)

Fang points out that the medical device industry is not hurting. They already pay a very low tax rate. But it is worse than he says. By increasing the number of people who have insurance, there will be more demand for medical devices. So the medical device manufacturers should be happy: more business and more profits. What I don't like about Obamacare is that it forces citizens to buy into a ridiculously expensive private insurance market. This is a huge giveaway too all of the people in the healthcare industry. But despite this, the businesses who are getting major help from the government are upset when the government asks them to give the smallest amount back.

Again, however, the issue is not the business community. It is supposed to be evil. The problem is that the government is not supposed to do the bidding of the business community. It is supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the nation. Sometimes, those interests are the same. But in this case they aren't. In the feeble minds of the Tea Party caucus, the business community isAmerica. It is the same old myth that what is good for GM is good for America. These 75 Tea Party legislators should be tried for treason—or at least corruption.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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