The Tangled Health Care Debate Heads to the States

The Health Care debate is heading back to the House of Representatives, following the partisan approval by the Senate Christmas Eve.  The NY Times reports today that as the bill moves closer to being passed at the Federal level, lobbyists are ramping up their efforts in the states.   The campaign contributions by the Health Care industry at the state level exceeds federal contributions and “the magnitude of the health care industry’s contributions shows the dangers of leaving such a question up to individual states, where campaign finance and ethics rules vary from strict to negligible.”   The geography Health Care reform and opposition will vary from state to state.  This article, however, highlights the need for a social geography of the players involved.

Two organization are taking that issue on.  LittleSis tracks the connections of organizations and people of power following social networking applications.  How We Know Us creates visualizations of professional networks.  HowWeKnowUs created a visual map of Health Care lobbyists (red circles) and their relationships (hollow circles).  The image to the right shows concentrations around President Obama (L) and former President Bush (R), and the image below shows a detail of the Obama node.

The Health Care debate is illustrating the need for a new geographical perspective on relationships that have more to do with influence and campaign contributions than constituency.  Social Networking Geography and maps may provide the much needed tools to increase government transparency and citizen agency.

Read the full NY Times article here.

Check out the maps and analysis at HowWeKnowUs

Check out LittleSis for the interesting social connections of people and organizations of power.

All images from HowWeKnowUs.com

Carl Kunda, VERTICES, intern

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