Fifty-nine percent of Americans support single-payer health care and 76 percent support a public option, but the debate on Capital Hill has kept the first off the table while the second is in danger of being gutted of all its substance by politicians in D.C. intent on maintaining the failed status quo.
How do we explain this disconnect between public opinion and policy? The truth is, many of our elected officials are bought and paid for by special interests more concerned with corporate profits than they are with the public interest.
Private insurance and pharmaceutical companies have spent over $1.3 billion in campaign contributions and lobbying since 2007, and their spending has increased to more than $1.4 million a day in 2009.
According to the Des Moines Register, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has received over $620,000 in campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries since 2003.
This high-jacking of our democracy goes beyond health care. Financial, insurance and mortgage lobbyists recently held a fundraiser for Sen. Grassley just days after he opposed legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to renegotiate mortgages for the victims of the subprime lending crisis. To date, he’s received more than $2.8 million from these industries.
Only campaign finance reform can restore the democratic process to the just principle of one voice, one vote. It’s time for Iowans to take our government back and demand that our elected officials work for us. For more information on what you can do to help, go to www.voterownediowa.org.
Shari Hawk, 401 NE Crestmoor Place, Ankeny, IA 50021