TOP INSURERS SPEND HEAVILY TO INFLUENCE DEBATE ON HEALTH CARE REFORM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Fourteen major health insurers and their industry association flexed their political muscle to the tune of $2.5 million per month – an increase of 25 percent over previous years – in the first half of 2009 to influence the health care reform debate, according to a report released today by the nonpartisan group Public Campaign Action Fund.
“These highly profitable corporations are spending millions every month to protect their bottom line by fighting health care reform in Washington, D.C.,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “To put it starkly, they have invested heavily in insider lobbyists and politicians to maintain their bottom line leaving Americans out in the cold and stuck with our broken health care system. It’s time to end the campaign money chase and let politicians do what we elected them to do—debate and pass sound public policy that benefits all of us and not just those who can make big campaign contributions.”
“At a time when Congress is hotly debating health care reform, citizens want to know that their elected officials are listening to them, not the insurance companies and HMOs,” continued Donnelly. “The best way to sever the link between special interests and the people we elect is the Fair Elections Now Act.”
The report is the second in a series of reports that examines the political spending of the insurance and Health Services/HMO industries. The first part, released yesterday, looked at the industries as a whole (http://www.campaignmoney.org/HMO_insurance_spend_to_kill_reform).
The study analyzed political spending – campaign contributions by company political action committees and employees, as well as lobbying expenses – for the 14 insurance companies that were ranked in the largest 1,000 American corporations by Fortune Magazine earlier this year (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2009/industries/223/index.html).
Lobbying expenses and employee campaign contributions from America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, were also included in the analysis. All of the data was compiled by reviewing records found at the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics website and the Senate lobbying disclosure website. A chart below lists the companies and their political spending:
|America's Health Insurance Plans||$3,514||$3,900,000||$31,615||$18,340,000|
|Coventry Health Care||$19,100||$300,000||$129,300||$1,600,000|
|Health Net, Inc.||$11,300||$680,000||$352,788||$2,575,000|
|Medical Mutual of Ohio||$3,000||$0||$9,000||$0|
|Universal American Corp||$3,800||$865,000||$157,851||$2,618,000|
Public Campaign Action Fund advocates for the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826, S. 752), or comprehensive public financing of elections. The bill was introduced by House Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (D-Conn.) and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and would provide qualified federal candidates the opportunity to run for office with a mixture of small donations and public funding.
Public Campaign Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing comprehensive reform of America’s election laws and works to hold politicians accountable for the favors they do for special interests.