Anxious lobbyists await health care reform decision

An exterior view of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling on the health care reform law before the end of its 2011-2012 term.

Kai Ryssdal: Monday. That's the day. Or maybe next Thursday.

We don't really know yet. Some day, the Supreme Court is gonna hand down its ruling on the health care law. But with the amount of money that's on the line with that case -- for lobbying groups and health care companies and insurance firms -- time's a wasting.

Anna Palmer covers money and politics for Politico.

Anna Palmer: Thanks for having me.

Ryssdal: This is one of those stories that it's like hanging out there -- we know it's coming, so everybody's got plenty of time to get ready. You've been making the rounds in Washington of the lobbying groups -- health care, pharmaceuticals, you name it. What are they doing? How are they getting themselves set?

Palmer: Everybody is waiting with bated breath, that much is for sure. You know, there's a lot of planning that goes into what these associations, trade groups, companies are going to say publicly, because they don't want to cause a firestorm by saying the wrong thing and getting into trouble with Democrats or Republicans.

Ryssdal: Yeah, you know what it reminds me of? I don't know if you remember the night of Bush v. Gore at the Supreme Court, and people standing there live on the air, reading this thing, and then having to go back and saying, 'Oh no, that's not exactly what it says'?

Palmer: Absolutely. I talked to a lot of lobbyists and law firms, and what they're doing, I mean, they have SWAT teams that they're bringing in to read everything very, very carefully. And the analogy to Gore v. Bush has come up quite a bit.

Ryssdal: And they're doing this in the name, I would imagine, of client service. They're going to get all this information, put it together and then get the word out to their constituent groups?

Palmer: Absolutely. This is why they get paid the big bucks. So they're going to sending out as soon as possible. One firm said, you know, within milliseconds they're going to have the ability to tell their clients what the decision will mean for them.

Ryssdal: So the name of the game in lobbying is to eventually get legislation in your favor. I would point to the calendar, though, and mention that we're not going to get any legislation between now and the end of the year, because there's this election thing coming up. What's the timeline for these guys?

Palmer: It's definitely becoming silly season here where not of lot of real legislating is going to go on. But I think even after the election, most of the health case industry is really looking to 2013. Anything that's going to happen before the election or really in that lame duck period, is going to be messaging bills, it's going to be making sure that is going to be destructive to the industry goes forward.

Ryssdal: Anna Palmer, she's the money and politics reporter at Politico. Anna, thanks a lot.

Palmer: Thanks so much.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...