The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the pharmaceutical and health-care-product industries, along with organizations representing doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, health services and HMOs, have spent $5.36 billion since 1998 on lobbying in Washington.
Put into perspective, during that time frame, the defense and aerospace industries spent $1.53 billion, and the oil and gas industry $1.3 billion.
Part of the cost, to be sure, is related to hospitals trying not to get sued.
“We use the CT scan because it’s a great defense,” said one hospital CEO. “For example, if anyone has fallen or done anything around their head — hell, if they even say the word ‘head’ — we do it to be safe. We can’t be sued for doing too much.”
Or, apparently, for charging too much … way too much.