Name three Health Care Lobbyist Groups.
Are the Lobbyists you selected good or bad for health care? How does what they do in Washington, affect you during your doctor’s visit?
One source must come from:
Morone, J. A., & Ehlke, D.C. (Editors). (2014). Health Politics and Policy. (5th edition). Chapters 15-17. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning.
Chapter 15 is about public opinion and its impact on health policy. As we have been using the ACA example in our course context thus far; we can see how public opinion on this 2010 health policy impacted its implementation and even still frames how the policy is perceived. Public opinion is often gauged through polls which like any other measurement approach have their shortcomings. Therefore, it is important to scrutinize public opinion data carefully.
Schlesinger demonstrates that this careful scrutiny of public opinion data is particularly relevant in the field of health policy. Below are some points the author stresses:
Political attitudes are measured by survey questions administered through public opinion polling.
Attitudes towards health policies ae similar to other social policies. In other words, citizens often use “bounded rationality” to form policy opinions, drawing on a variety of heuristics.
Two forms of attribution shape the policy attitudes of better-informed citizens.
Attitudes towards health policies are distinct from other social policies. Why do you think Americans embrace a more expansive role for government in health than in other social policies? Why is health different? What’s so unique about health compared to education for instance?
So, you may ask—how are the public’s attitudes toward health policy similar to and different than their attitudes toward other public policies? Public attitudes toward health policy are similar to other public policies. Both are shaped by bounded rationality. Most of the public does its best to formulate sensible policy attitudes, but does so under conditions that fall well short of theorists’ aspirations for an informed electorate and effective participatory deliberation. However, their attitudes emerge in predictable ways from personal experiences and societal events, shaped by a consistent set of emotional and cognitive heuristics.
Public attitudes toward health policy also are distinctive from other public policies. Large majorities endorse government responsibility for assuring access to care and government regulation of certain aspects of the health care system. Income-related differences in support for health policies have become vanishingly small. The public remains surprisingly supportive of targeted taxes that earmark revenues for health-enhancing purposes.
Well, we cannot discuss public opinion without touching on those who help shape it. One of those influential bodies are what we refer to as “health lobbyists” who are often aligned with certain parties, organizations and express unique interests. Rogan Kersh discusses the ten myths about health lobbyists in Chapter 16.
For over a decade, Kersh followed a group of Washington, D.C. healthy lobbyists as they carried out their work. What he learned can surprise the reader. Kersh uncovered some of the most common misconceptions about what lobbyists really do – juxtaposed with the often expected reality. As you review these ten myths surrounding health care lobbying, think about a specific issue area of health care and see if these myths are applicable.
It is also important to note that as far as lobbying goes, health care is no different than other fields. Whatever its “special” past, today health is as business-like as any other aspect of U. S. politics and governance. As a matter of fact, health policy attracts more lobbyist spending than any other issue area. This has remained true for several years now. Current estimates even suggest that the total amount of health sector spending approached $500 million in 2012. The actual total will be significantly higher, since estimates suggest that less than half of lobbyist spending to influence Congress is reported, given ambiguous legal requirements.
An example of how lobbyist groups impact public health and healthcare delivery is illustrated in a BBC production focusing on the food industry. In the video series, The Men who made us fat”, Jacques Peretti examines assumptions about what is and is not healthy. He looks at how product marketing can seduce consumers into buying supposed “healthy foods” and investigates how the food industry cashed in on the public’s concerns around salmonella, BSE, and GM crops. The program also explores marketing strategies used by mainstream food producers and the impact of successive government initiatives and health campaigns, such as the proposal of “traffic light labeling,” the introduction of which the food industry lobbied hard against. But in 2012, when we have an Olympic Games sponsored by McDonalds and Coca Cola. So, the question remains, has anything changed? Here is Episode 1 of the 3-part video series: https://vimeo.com/44450267