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The Lobbyists’ Other Drug War

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Over 44 million Americans are without healthcare. Many more are underinsured. Each year, over 18,000 Americans die due to lack of healthcare. Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans think this country should have a universal healthcare system that provides quality services for all. So why are so many still without coverage?

Pharmaceutical companies, the health insurance industries, and healthcare sellers have donated millions to politicians of both parties to make sure that the profits keep rolling in at the expense of our health. In 2001 alone, drug companies spent $78.1 million on lobbying. In that same year, the pharmaceutical industry employed 623 lobbyists, more than one lobbyist for every U.S. Congressperson.

These corporate lobbyists also help pay for political campaigns of both big-business parties; from 1997 to 2002, drug companies donated over $37 million to political campaigns, all to ensure that Americans have to pay heavily for decent healthcare.

Ralph Nader noted, “A recent highlight of corporate influence over government was the prescription drug bill. The bill was a big profit maker for the drug companies. They invested $150 million in lobbying the government and in return got a $400 billion drug bill.”

Dirty deals like this will continue as long as politicians have their interests tied up with corporate profits. That’s why we need a new political party that truly represents the interests of working people, not the agenda of people who make money off of our misery.

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