The Washington Post reports today:
The nation’s preeminent seniors group, AARP, has put the weight of its 40 million members behind health-care reform, saying many of the proposals will lower costs and increase the quality of care for older Americans.
But not advertised in this lobbying campaign have been the group’s substantial earnings from insurance royalties and the potential benefits that could come its way from many of the reform proposals.
The group and its subsidiaries collected more than $650 million in royalties and other fees last year from the sale of insurance policies, credit cards and other products that carry the AARP name, accounting for the majority of its $1.14 billion in revenue, according to federal tax records.
The AARP is not the only special interest group shelling out money to support Obamacare in hopes of future returns. Politico reported earlier this month:
At a meeting last April with corporate lobbyists, aides to President Barack Obama and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) helped set in motion a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, primarily financed by industry groups, that has played a key role in bolstering public support for health care reform.
The result has been a somewhat unlikely alliance between an administration that came into power criticizing George W. Bush for his closeness to Big Business and groups such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the American Medical Association.
And let’s not forget the health insurance companies. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday:
As President Obama’s push for a health care overhaul moves toward its final act, the oft-vilified health insurance industry is on the verge of seeing a plan enacted that largely protects its financial interests.
The specifics of the health care legislation are still being hashed out on Capitol Hill, and key details will evolve in the days ahead. Even so, there is broad agreement that the final plan will, for the first time, require Americans to buy health coverage, with taxpayer subsidies for millions who cannot afford it.
For the health insurance industry, that means millions of new paying customers. What’s more, there are likely to be no limits on what insurers can charge, while at the same time the plan is expected to limit competition from any new national government insurance plan that lawmakers create.
Obama’s advisers are also getting rich from the legislation. FOX News reports:
A media consulting firm with ties to White House senior strategist David Axelrod has been hired to produce a multi-million dollar ad campaign touting the Obama administration’s health care overhaul.
AKPD Message and Media, founded by Axelrod, along with firm GMMB, were paid $12 million by Health Economy Now and Americans for Stable Quality Care, a coalition that includes Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, to produce ads promoting President Obama’s health care reform.
Obama announced an agreement with PhRMA on June 22 to achieve $80 billion in savings as part of his reform agenda. On August 8, a coalition of interest groups including PhRMA pledged to spend $150 million to help Obama’s overhaul health care this fall.