Bought and Sold

Democratic Party, Health Care, Republican Party

From Derrick Jackson’s column in today’s Boston Globe:

The hold of the healthcare industry on the top candidates is already apparent. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top recipient of campaign contributions so far from the pharmaceutical and health products industry is Republican Mitt Romney ($228,260). But the next two are Democrats Barack Obama ($161,124) and Hillary Clinton ($146,000). The top recipient of contributions from health professionals is Clinton ($990,611). Romney is second at $806,837, and Obama third at $748,637.

The top recipient of cash from the insurance industry, which includes health insurers, is another Democrat, Connecticut’s Christopher Dodd, at $605,950. Romney and Republican Rudolph Giuliani are second and third, with Clinton and Obama fourth and fifth. Even though Obama is in fifth place, he still has collected $269,750 from insurance companies.

In a category that is relatively small in money thus far, but huge in terms of healthcare morality, Democratic presidential candidates occupy four of the top six spots in receiving money from death-dealing tobacco companies. After Giuliani’s $69,500 from tobacco companies, Dodd has received $45,400, Clinton $32,300, Romney $31,400, Obama $7,885, and Democrat Joe Biden, $4,000.

No surprise:

The top recipient from lobbyists by far is Clinton at $406,300. She is still so badly smoldering from the torching of her healthcare efforts as first lady that she recently asserted to the National Association of Black Journalists, “I have never advocated socialized medicine. That has been a right-wing attack on me for 15 years.”

One of the several reasons I don’t want Senator Clinton to be the nominee is that she is in a uniquely weak position to work for real healthcare reform.

Jackson’s column focuses on Dennis Kucinich, who is the only candidate advocating a universal, single-payer, not-for-profit healthcare system. And, of course, Kucinich will not be the nominee. John Edwards, who has a shot at the ticket and who has proposed a healthcare plan I don’t like, at least doesn’t seem to be in the health insurance industry’s pocket.

See also this editorial in today’s New York Times.

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  1. Donna  •  Aug 29, 2007 @8:37 am

    I for one would like a better breakdown on those ‘industry’ dollars Globe cited by the Globe. When I have tried to look at campaign contributions, I find that all the employees [from nurses to janitors, etc] of various industries are lumped into the totals for each named industry.
    Anyone know of a better breakdown that would delineate employees from top brass? I know that is easy with lobbyist money, but how about ‘health care industry’ breakdowns, for instance.

  2. Josh Yelon  •  Aug 29, 2007 @9:49 am

    My hunch is that the “pharmaceutical and health products industry” is mostly against universal coverage, but that “health care professionals” are mostly in favor. So the fact that health care professionals have given five times as much as the pharmaceutical industry seems like cause for relief, not concern.

  3. grayslady  •  Aug 29, 2007 @10:31 am

    Agree that, on the surface, Edwards’ health plan is not ideal. However, it has always been my belief that the Edwards plan is the only one that eventually will get us to universal health care, especially if it is handled correctly. Imagine that you have Medicare available to anyone who wants it, at an infintessimal amount of what it costs to purchase traditional health insurance. Why would anyone pay more? Why would any company continue to offer health insurance to its employees if it knew they could be covered as well, or better, by a federal program at a fraction of the cost? By giving citizens an alternative, by giving them the right to reject the usurious insurance companies, the people end up making the decision and the politicians are spared openly hostile votes. Then it just becomes a matter of total conversion to national health care, but only after the insurance companies have had an opportunity to see the handwriting on the wall and begin to shift their assets into other areas. I don’t know for certain that this is what Edwards contemplates with his plan, but, if it is, it strikes me as very savvy.

  4. allwar isbad  •  Aug 29, 2007 @1:04 pm

    Mention of the “Military-Industrial Complex” as reason for the Iraq War and the atrocities being done for its survival seems tough for the MSM to digest. Thus I am putting this item in the blogs for all to see:
    Whistleblowers on Fraud in Iraq Facing Penalties
    Sorry if it not directly pertinent to this item. But you have got to read it!

  5. sniflheim  •  Aug 29, 2007 @1:20 pm

    Of course, if Hillary gets elected, her uniquely weak position means she can’t offer up a please-nobody self-“compromise” like we got in 93. With the careerist neoliberals out of the way, we might have a better chance of getting a real plan through from below. People might think another candidate would bring on a bunch of liberal firebrands and selfless public servants. I really don’t see it happening though.

  6. k  •  Aug 29, 2007 @7:52 pm

    This is not a good day to mention health insurance to me. I pay $744 monthly for lousey insurance which you have to fight tooth and nail to pay for the coverage you are supposed to have . The Dr doesn’t put the reason down on the authorization, someone never got the authorization, the authorization was denied and will have to be appealed, the Doctor flat out lied about the insurance not covering something he didn’t feel like approving, you make 70 phone cals over a 6 month period to Dr, to insurance co, to “referral” center and they all tell you contradictory things which makes you go crazy trying to figure out who is lying: the Dr who gets penalized for treating a problem or the insurance company who just doesn’t want to pay a dime or the ‘referral’ center that can’t find it’s paperwork or it’s ass. We are required by our employer to cover ourselves and provide written excuse for not covering everyone else in the household= yes we are. The over 9,000 I pay for this madness I pay taxes on though I never see a dime, I am healthy not on any medications, in better shape than anyone I know but am penalized by a system that tells me I make 9000 more than I do so the insurance racket can bilk me and provide nothing when it is genuinely needed. Why the insurance industry has us all by throat is one of the great shames in this country- health, house or auto . the politicians just kiss the industry’s ass and we are stuck with this crap.

  7. Robert Recht  •  Aug 30, 2007 @12:10 pm

    Kucinich’s HR 676 is the best but Edwards has the best approach;dual plans. One conventional w/ insurors for for people who are afraid and resistent to change to an unknown. The other, a Medicare like plan as another choice and most certainly which will take over completely. It’s a brilliant way to get to a single payer plan w/less opposition

  8. robert Recht  •  Aug 30, 2007 @12:14 pm

    How do I make a comment /out ” you have already said that” coming up?