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Who got health industry buck$ – the answer might surprise you

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on March 26, 2010 at 6:00 am with 10 Comments »
March 25, 2010 5:09 pm

The recent fight over health care reform has divided sharply along party lines. The GOP decries the Democrats vision of a “government takeover” of your health, while the Dems say it’s a modest step to keep “big, bad insurance companies” from running amok. So you’d assume that campaign and lobbying dollars from the health care business interest would divide that way, too.

But this analysis of health care industry spending by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that the money is much more bipartisan than the debate. The government watchdog group added up health sector industry spending on lobbying and campaigns from 1989 to 2009, and found that health interests have spent $3.5 billion over the last 20 years trying to influence lawmakers, nearly $600 million of it last year alone.

In the latest cycle, Democrats fared better than Republicans in attracting dollars from pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals and, yes, even “evil” insurance companies. (That may be expected, given that Democrats are running both houses.)

Among the Washington delegation, members of both parties took campaign contributions from the health care lobby over the two decades. The big beneficiaries were Democrats, particularly Patty Murray, who sits on both the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

Here’s how the delegation stacks up, based on the numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics’ numbers. As you can see, the money didn’t line up with the outcome of their votes on the health care bill:

MEMBERTOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS VOTE
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash)$1,170,438 Yes
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island) $655,882Yes
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Lake Stevens)$653,015Yes
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash)$622,001Yes
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle)$522,507Yes
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn)$424,870No
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma)$411,039Yes
Rep. Brian Baird (D-Vancouver) $357,868Yes
Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-Deer Park)$336,589No
Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Belfair)$257,837Yes
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Pasco)$219,292No

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. I don’t get it.. but I do get it in the end.

  2. stangmanla says:

    Why would it be a surprise, the Democratic party sold us down the river for what??? Money, only to line their own coffers. It is time for change, when you the Elected Officials were elected by the people and payed by the people to listen to the PEOPLE and not to your party who makes outlandish promises. Many people will be hurt by this as there is NO MONEY to pay for all the OBAMA programs. The unions can say what they want and when you look at the reality of the employer you really think he’s not going to cut jobs to afford this fiasco, think again my friend. We are on a very slippery slope and its going to get wrost.

  3. donaldtock says:

    It looks like a huge CONFLICT OF INTEREST to me, and lawmakers should have the decency to abstain on a voting on legislation affecting a company that has contributed to that lawmaker.

  4. I am not surprised by this; why donate money to the minority party who wouldn’t be able to slow legislation? It makes far more sense to try and influence those in power and you certainy won’t be able to do that on a Congressional level without donating to their campaigns.

  5. Pat_riot says:

    This isn’t a surprise at all, anyone paying attention already knows this. Anyone paying attention also knows the snake oil salesman (Obama) was using the insurance companies to gin up public support (which didn’t seem to work) while at the same time the legislation really only benefits the insurance companies by forcing millions of people to sign up for insurance. Of course, any rationally thinking person will conclude, based on previous statements by the snake oil salesman and his comrades, that the government will soon take over the insurance companies with every American being forced to be enrolled in them.. and hence have the central government control over health care that they have sought since they fought so vigorously for eugenics back in the early 1900’s. It’s sad really, that the populous is so easily led into the chains of tyranny. I feel sorry for our children and grandchildren.

  6. My own belief is that we have term limits available every time we vote whether for a R or D.

    In this November’s election, I will look to throw ANYONE out, regardless of party, if they have been in office too long.

  7. The last resort we have is “the tea party”. If we make enough noise, and throw out ALL politicians now in power, we just might get our point across. No more big government telling me how to live my life, and what to do! Our elected officials are not listening at all,,, and won’t allow us to send attachments in e-mails. We just lost “government by the people”.

  8. Commandtiger says:

    Money always gets the vote. Too bad they rushed it thru just to make Obama HAPPY. They need more thought, But I guess the voters do not get what they want from the people they put in office No longer a government for the People, By the people, but government by the speical intrest groups,Obama.

  9. TacomaFan1 says:

    Health care industry stocks went up immediately after the bill was signed — a clear indicator that the health insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital supply companies came out of this even better positioned than before. They stand to make much more money now that nearly everyone is required to access their services and there’s no lower cost public option competing for the business.

    Democrats chickened out by allowing the best cost containment strategy available — real competition — to disappear from their original legislation. If we really wanted to cut health care costs and improve results, we’d expand Medicare to cover all who cannot afford coverage provided by the few, powerful for-profit companies to which we currently have access. At minumum, we should have extended the Medicare option to those aged 50+.

    From the health care industry’s perspective, the money spent lobbying Congress and creating TV commericals to fan the flames of ignorance was well spent indeed. Once again, in our defense of unfettered capitalism we’ve fallen prey to the belief that AIG and Wall Street have our best interests at heart. Wake up, people!

  10. jhockett says:

    People that think that this bill was “rushed through”, can’t remember the last 40 or so years that Congress has been working on this.. And stocks went up in the health insurance field because pharmaceutical companies bought in… and this lawsuit to sue for repeal is just a scam.. but ignorant people still believe it..

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