Stephen Brill has written a book that challenges the adage about laws and sausages. Hes betting you really do want to know how laws are made. Or at least youll want to know about President Obamas signature piece of legislation.
In Americas Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Health Care System, Brill describes secret meetings, cynical emails and hidden contributions to political action funds. It was not the new way of doing business that Barack Obama had promised, he notes.
On the campaign trail, the president had pledged:
Well have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.
But as I wrote recently in a review of Brills book at Health Affairs, it was not to be. Instead, key players met behind closed doors in what years ago would have been smoked filled rooms. Everyone knew if you werent at the table you were going to be on the menu.