by Max Brantley
A Boston Globe article examines how the medical/industrial lobby got a Medicare payment for bone scans reinserted in health legislation (at a higher rate). There's an Arkansas connection:
“You have to view these things through common sense. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that providing bone density tests for elderly Americans will save this country billions of dollars,’’ said [U.S. Rep. Shelley] Berkley. “In addition to saving taxpayers money, it will prevent suffering that people with osteoporosis have.’’
Berkley and the key Senate sponsor, Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat, who was a pivotal vote in the Senate in favor of health reform, have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from medical industry sources, including physicians, as have many other lawmakers.
Among the lobbyists working on behalf of several corporations on the effort was a former top staffer to Lincoln, Drew Goesl, who was listed on public disclosure records as being among the people at Washington lobbying firm Capitol Counsel who worked on the issue.
Goesl did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Lincoln said neither campaign contributions nor Goesl’s involvement played any role in her position.
“Part of her effort to strengthen and improve Medicare includes recognizing when a particular test with enormous potential to prevent health problems and significant promise of cost-savings is being taken out of doctors’ offices because providers can’t afford it,’’ said Lincoln spokeswoman Marni Goldberg. “That’s a flaw in the system that needs to be addressed.’’