Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Daschle and my pen collection

When Emily and I were residents, we thoroughly enjoyed our drug company dinners. Great company, great food, and, even then, the knowledge of a guilty pleasure.

It was wrong of course, and we went straight when we were in practice. Over time the primary care academies clamped down on the practice (though not on the "speakers fees" scam), and now even the pens and mugs are gone. It took years to run through all the pens we got in residency, but there's not much left of those days.

So I really had to laugh when I read of Daschle's life ...
Editorial - The Travails of Tom Daschle -

... Like many former power players in Washington, Mr. Daschle cashed in on his political savvy and influence to earn $5 million in recent years, including more than $2 million from Alston & Bird, a law and lobbying firm; more than $2 million from the private equity firm, InterMedia Advisors, which provided the car and driver; and hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to interest groups, including those representing health insurance plans, medical equipment distributors and pharmacy boards.

Although Mr. Daschle was not a registered lobbyist, he offered policy advice to the UnitedHealth Group, a huge insurance conglomerate...
The worst part is I'm sure Daschle feels he's incorruptible. Sure, feeble-minded family docs can be bought for the price of a pen, but Senators are made of sterner stuff.

I wish I was more confident that his replacement will be a real improvement. I don't think Obama is going to go for Howard Dean.

Update 9/15/09: Irony, sadness, and ambiguity.

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