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One of the real Obamacare facts we’ve shared with you is how the Affordable Care Act will influence private employers to cut hours and jobs across the nation.
There is one group of workers, however, that is still raking in new job opportunities at a stunning rate, thanks to Obamacare.
I’m talking about lobbyists.
Since Congress passed Obamacare, lobbyists have been in high demand by Fortune 500 companies.
Companies like Delta Airlines, UPS, BP America, and Coca-Cola hire lobbyists to help navigate the bill. These lobbyists will remain in high demand until at least 2020 – when some portions of the law will finally be implemented – to help change requirements and seek exemptions.
This grand lobbying push isn’t new in Washington, D.C. We’ve seen a similar lobbyist rollout with previous legislation like the Dodd-Frank Act.
But the Obamacare lobbying highlights a growing trend in Washington. It highlights another “revolving door” that exists: the one between the halls of Congress and the boardrooms of corporations looking to game the system…
Obamacare Facts: Healthcare Is Lobbying on Steroids
According to OpenSecrets, hundreds of former congressional representatives and senators are currently lobbyists or senior advisors to companies, helping to influence the very government on which they once served.
It wasn’t always this way.
In 1974, only 3% of retired or defeated congressmen became lobbyists.
Then in 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama said his administration would reduce the influence of lobbyists in Washington.
A funny thing happened…
His policies’ lack of bite fueled an increase in what has long been a favorite pastime for Washington elite, particularly members of Congress.
Now, according to author Mark Leibovich, about 50% of former senators are lobbyists, in addition to 42% of former congressmen.
That means the people scoring cozy, high-paying spots at some of the premier K Street firms are congressional staffers, legislators, and regulators – all who helped craft legislation like Obamacare.
Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-ND, for example, was a critical voice on healthcare and tax issues as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Pomeroy and his former Chief of Staff Bob Siggins joined lobbyist shop Alston & Bird in 2011, after his district-race defeat to Rep. Rick Berg, R-ND.
And it’s not just acting members of Congress who voted to serve their constituents – it’s also staff members who worked for these lawmakers…
Avenue Solutions, a K Street firm, hired Yvette Fontenot, who worked on the staff of the Senate Finance Committee and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Reform. The Finance Committee wrote key tax provisions of the law, whereas the Office of Health Reform will be responsible for the law’s implementation. Fontenot now lobbies on behalf of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, according to reports.
There are many more stories of former lawmakers and public servants who turned influence into a six- and even seven-figure salary. The average pay raise is 1,452% for such opportunities, according to Republic Report. That’s how Obamacare has created a windfall for some.
These facts about Obamacare lobbying point to an accelerating trend in American business, one that has distorted the free market and invited greater amounts of regulation into the lives of every American…
Obamacare and the Rise of the Fifth Rail
Lobbying spending in 2012 by U.S. corporations was near record levels at $3.31 billion and is expected to be even higher in 2013.
I like to call this the “Rise of the Fifth Rail” in competition among rivals.
You see, in more traditional free markets, companies and competitors go head to head on the “four P’s”: price, product quality, promotion, and place (market access).
But over the last decade, we’ve seen companies competing on a fifth “P”: public policy.
Companies are using Washington insiders as a competitive tool, by paying lobbyists to influence and circumvent laws. This has distorted the markets and driven fair competition into the ground. It has also hollowed out the American free market from the inside.
Using public influence over private sectors is the hallmark of corporatism and fascism. And over time, if unchecked, this system will stifle innovation, hinder competitors who can’t afford K Street’s services, and drive a greater divide between the rich and the poor. The poor will never have the means to influence change.
This is how the facts about Obamacare show us how much structural decay there is in markets and competition.
Bottom line: Corporate influence is alive and well, and the playing field isn’t being leveled in favor of ordinary Americans.