Santa Monica, CA — As the California State Assembly prepares for a historic vote likely on Thursday on universal health care (SB 840 – Kuehl), a nonpartisan consumer group released data showing that health insurers leading the opposition have contributed $3.7 million to members of the Assembly, Senate, Governor Schwarzenegger and political campaigns since 2005.
The legislation calls for replacingÂ the private,Â uncompetitive and unregulated health insurance market with a public insurance program that wouldÂ utilize the 25% of revenue currently wasted on overhead by private insurers to provide better health care for all Californians.Â Compared to private insurers, public health insurance programs typically spend only 2% to 3% on overhead.
“The insurers are willing to spend millions to kill health care reform because under the proposed universal system, price-gouging fat cats will be the newest endangered species,” said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).Â “The insurers have overcharged Californians for years.Â Now they are spending our money in the form of campaign contributions to protect their ability to gouge.”
Under the legislation, health careÂ would be more affordable and more reliable because the billions of dollars now going to insurance middlemen, CEO pay, record corporate profits, overhead and advertising would be used to provide care.Â For more information about why California needs universal health care and how we can insure everyone and still cutÂ $8 billion fromÂ what we are currently spending, go to:Â http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/cal-medicare/
To view a list of the $3.7 million in political contributions from insurers and top company executives, go to: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/HealthInsurance05-06.xls
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is the state’s leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy group.Â For more information, visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org