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Politico's Not-Very-Ethical Op-Ed

Bill Frist and John Breaux have a column in Politico urging Congress to build on the success of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug act, and not to cut any subsidies out of Medicare Advantage, the lucrative boondoggle created by that act. As Matthew Yglesias notes, it's absurd to cite as a legislative model a bill that "paid" for every cent of its benefits with debt. Breaux and Frist brag about the 76 votes that bill got. Pretty easy when you get to create a popular benefit, enrich the health care industry, and have no need for any spending or tax cuts!

What I find most absurd is that Politico gave Breaux and Frist a platform without requiring them to disclose their professional interest. Frist is a partner at an investment company that, according to its website, is "focused exclusively on investing in and building leading healthcare businesses." Breaux is a lobbyist for Pharma. I mean, it's not as if Breaux had a whole lot of distance from K Street when he served in office, but now that he's formally on the corporate payroll, this biographical detail seems germane.

Why should a publication use its pages to let a lobbyist plea for his clients at all, let alone without disclosure? Did Politico at least charge Breaux to run the ad op-ed?