Health Insurance Companies Spend Millions to Fight Health Reform

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While millions of Americans worry daily about rising health insurance premiums or whether they will ever be able to even afford health insurance, health insurers and HMOs are spending millions to influence lawmakers and public policy. According to the Public Campaign Action Fund, these health care industries have spent $585.7 million since 2007 on lobbying and campaign contributions.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund, a campaign finance watchdog group, released the first part of its two-part study on Tuesday September 15. The study is an analysis of the health insurance and HMO industry and its campaign contribution and lobbying expense activities, which the Fund compiled using data available from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and information from the Senate lobbying disclosure websites.

The Fund will release the second part of the study on Wednesday, September 16. This portion of the report focuses on the political spending by the top for-profit health insurance companies and HMOs.

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David Donnelly, the Fund’s national campaigns director, noted on the group’s website that the health insurance companies and HMOs are spending nearly $700,000 daily against health care reform efforts. “Why are so many in Congress willing to listen to an industry that is spending tens of millions every month on politics,” asked Donnelly, “rather than lowering their premiums or helping to address the costs of health care?”

Another nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog that is tracking money in American politics is the Center for Responsive Politics, which notes that health insurance interests have 875 registered lobbyists working for them and HMOs have 920. The Center provides a lobbying database on their website where individuals can search for the total spending by a particular industry (e.g., health insurance, pharmaceutical), view the interests that lobbied a specific government agency, and other information.

Americans who are concerned about the spending activities of the very industry that is responsible for their rising health insurance premiums and whether their health insurance claims will be covered may want to read more about the findings from the Public Campaign Action Fund. The Fund advocates for the Fair Elections Now Act, a bill that would provide qualified federal candidates the chance to run for office using a combination of public funding and small donations.

Source:
Center for Responsive Politics
Public Campaign Action Fund press release

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