A decade ago WellPoint laid out a strategy to pursue business in the individual market, precisely the big new market Obamacare sends their way. Will government rules that Fowler may have worked on give the company an edge in the kinds of policies it can sell and the regulations it must follow? What about the provision—first written into the Medicare prescription drug law and later apparently inscribed in the Affordable Care Act—that prohibits the government from negotiating Medicare drug prices with pharmaceutical makers, even though many experts believe those negotiations would help lower the price of medicine for seniors? Johnson & Johnson and other drug makers probably didn’t care much for that idea. Nor did insurance companies like the notion of revealing the prices of their policies on those new government-mandated disclosure forms consumers are starting to see when they shop for a policy.
It’s a good bet Fowler was party to discussions on these issues. But it’s stuff like this—the role of the lobbyist turned government employee, the nitty-gritty of legislation—that we know so little about. We need good reporting to help us learn more.
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