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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A NOTE FROM THE CHAIRMAN: Big Money in the War of Influence Over Healthcare Reform

I'm no politician, nor am I an expert on politics, but I have a new found appreciation for Washington, DC lobbyists, as they seem to be the true networkers (and apparently highly in demand) in and around the U.S. political scene.

Case in point: you would hardly think there's a global economic crisis going on with all of the top-dollar spending on lobbyists in the ongoing U.S. healthcare reform debate. According to a recent article in The Washington Post here's what organizations are spending on lobbying (networking):

  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) - $8.6 million
  • American Medical Association (AMA) - $8 million
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association - $2.8 million
  • GlaxoSmithKline - $2.3 million
  • America's Health Insurance Plans - $2 million
  • Bayer Corp - $2 million
  • Novartis - $1.8 million
  • Metlife Group - $1.7 million
  • Johnson & Johnson - $1.6 million
  • Allstate - $1.5 million
When spending like this is as much as $1.4 million dollars a day, it goes to show that these companies will pay top dollar for influence and that they must have a lot to lose if they don't.

Time will certainly tell which will win in the end - big business networking or grassroots networking through various right-wing/left-wing political organizations.

In other news, our latest TNNW poll seems to have struck a nerve. We are asking whether or not Chambers of Commerce provide value to you, and we have gotten some great responses:

"I find that it depends on the Chamber of Commerce. Some cities are more proactive and will extend themselves the extra mile to help you; others are more lackluster and it seems staffed with those less than enthusiastic about their job. In general, my feeling is that there is a need for the personal touch of a good Chamber of Commerce. It can help your business tremendously."

- D.A.P

"Chambers have become too focused on large business transactions. Difficult to break through on a smaller level."

- Anonymous

"In the age of the internet, they are becoming obsolete. At one time, the only way to meet potential new clients was through the local Chamber. Now, it is easier to meet them via the internet. Decision makers whom I need to speak to no longer attend networking Chamber events."

- P.Y.

"I still think chambers of commerce have value, but I tried to get my local one to think globally, without success."

- J.R

"I have found them to be a waste of time; and I've joined and have actively networked, took people out for coffee, and referred folks to many of their members."

- M.M.

We have decided to extend our poll one more week - IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO MAKE YOUR OPINION HEARD - CLICK HERE AND VOTE NOW - if you don't, Douglas Castle (who's name I refuse to mention) will chastise you in one of his next blog entries (trust me...I've seen him do it).

As mentioned last week, my friend Kelly O'Brien Gavin of the The Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone asked me to be one of the featured speakers at the kick-off dinner for their first annual Venture Plan/Business Plan Competition at Susquehanna University on October 27th. If you're in (or will be in) the Central/Northeastern Pennsylvania area, I would love to meet you in person there. More details to follow.

As always, I look forward to Networking with you,


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