Unhealthy Relationship with the Health Industry

Next week John McCain is planning to give a number of speeches on health care. His plan will probably not give adequate focus to one of our largest problems in the area of health care, the 47 million Americans that are uninsured. It would also be wise to take note of who benefits most from McCain’€™s coming plan.

If John McCain’€™s health care plan is a boon for the big insurance and drug companies, one can hardly be surprised given McCain’€™s history and relationships to those industries. Since 1990, he has received $3,883,226 from the healthcare, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. Further, it should be noted that his fundraising from these industries has dramatically increased since he began running for president last year.

Not only has the heath/insurance/pharmaceutical industries contributed these massive amounts to McCain but they have also produced lobbyists that have been very helpful to his political efforts. A total of 38 lobbyists from the industries are listed as fundraisers, co-hosts of events, or actual staffers for McCain’€™s campaign. At least six staffers ‘€“ Charlie Black, Doug Davenport, Carlos Bonilla, Kirsten Chadwick, Bryan Cunningham, and John Green ‘€“ are lobbyists for health industry companies.

A look at John McCain’€™s record on health care clearly demonstrates why these powerful industries support him in such large ways. In 1999 he voted in favor of a $950 million provision to allow insurance companies to write off losses accrued by their affiliates. He also has voted in favor of health savings accounts which shift costs and risks away from employers and onto working families.

Early indications are that he has no plans of slowing his support of these powerful interests. It seems that the centerpiece of his coming plan will come in the form of health care related tax cuts. The Center for American Progress Action Fund estimates that the ten largest American health insurance companies could save nearly $2 billion a year from the proposal. With those kinds of numbers, no wonder those interests are supporting John McCain on such a grand scale.

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