"Baucus’ Raucous Caucus"
Barack Obama appeared this week with health-industry bigwigs, proclaiming light at the end of the health-care tunnel. Among those gathered were executives from HMO giants Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Health Net Inc., and the health-insurance lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans; from the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association; from medical-device companies; and from the pharmaceutical industry, including the president and CEO of Merck and former Rep. Billy Tauzin, now president and CEO of PhRMA, the massive industry lobbying group. They have pledged to voluntarily shave some $2 trillion off of U.S. health-care costs over 10 years. But these groups, which are heavily invested in the U.S. health-care status quo, have little incentive to actually make good on their promises.