Two consumer interest groups criticized U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns Thursday for accepting campaign funding from managed care interests that oppose a bill of rights for patients.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen said Burns has accepted $128,149 from managed-care interests in his bid for a third six-year term.
The groups contend the same managed care interests have contributed $1,000 to Brian Schweitzer, Burns’ Democratic opponent.
“Senator Burns has a choice,” said Frank Clemente, director of Public
Citizen’s Congress Watch. “Will he continue to side with the special interests in Washington who have padded his campaign account, or will he stand with the people of Montana seeking relief from insurance company abuse?”
The groups said Burns has voted against a bill that would give consumers protections against insurance companies that deny them care, but Burns said he has voted to support a patient’s bill of rights several times in Congress.
“I’ll base my decision on whether or not to support any future patient protection legislation on what is in the best interest of Montana patients and the small businesses that provide insurance,” Burns said. “Not on some kind of phony pledge pushed by Ralph Nader and the trail lawyers.”