Health insurers and drug concerns have given a combined $26.2 million to members of Congress since 2006 according to a study released by the non-profit group, Consumer Watchdog.
With the exception of John McCain, R-AZ, who has received over $900,000 Max Baucus, D-MT, received more money than any other current member of Congress from both the health insurance and the pharmaceutical industries. For the 2006, 2008 and 2010 election cycles, Baucus received $213,400 in contributions from health insurance companies and $229,520 from the pharmaceutical industry. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus is one of the primary architects of health care reform in Congress.
But all the cash spread around didn’t work to defeat health reform last Saturday night as the House of Representatives passed its version of a landmark health insurance reform bill by a 220-215 vote. All but one of the 177 members of the Republican Party opposed the bill, as did 39 Democrats.
All seven members of the Alabama Congressional Delegation, four Republicans and three Democrats voted against the bill. What did it cost the health care lobby for these votes… three million and counting, according to the Consumer Watchdog group?
Here’s the breakdown. By far the largest amount, $1.2 million was pulled in by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, who ranked No. 23 on the House cash list, just behind No. 18, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The rest followed in this order: Rep. Spencer Bachus R-Mt. Brook, $456,975; Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, $375,779; Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, $$364,890; Rep. Jo Bonner R-Mobile, $341,223; Rep. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, $248,700; Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery, $77,250.
It is interesting that eight of the votes against the health care bill came from representatives in whose district Barack Obama carried. The most noticed of these came in Rep. Artur Davis’ 7th district in Alabama where Obama won 74 percent of the vote. According to a Washington column, The Fix, Davis’ vote is “rightly understood through a political lens as, despite the overwhelming support for Obama in his district, he is running for governor of a conservative-leaning state next November and wants to safeguard against attacks from Republicans.
The rest represent districts where the President took 55 percent or less in 2008, making their decision to vote “no” strategically defensible, according to Chris Cillizza author of The Fix.
The last Democratic member holding an Obama district to vote against the bill was Rep. Dennis Kucinich who, as we all know, is… well Crazy Dennis, but who married well. That means, Cillizza writes,” for you non-math majors out there — 31 of the 39 Democrats who voted against the bill represent seats won by Sen. John McCain (R Ariz.) last fall.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. Email him at: [email protected]