Sunday, March 29, 2009

Has The Heath Care Industry Bribed Enough Members Of Congress To Prevent Meaningful Reform?


Hysterical health care foe, Mitch McConnell (R-KY- $2,723,168)

Yesterday Blue America hosted a live blogging session with Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards. In the course of answering a question, she brought this up:
On health care-- I’m an original cosponsor of H.R.676 (Rep. Conyers)-- I think we must have a marker for a public plan option however this debate shakes out in the end-- otherwise we never will address cost and we’ll never get to single-payer. Now as you can only guess, the insurers, and for-profit hospitals and all the industry are marching the halls of Congress to keep the basic system that’s in place. So, in these coming weeks after we settle the budget next week, we need an all out push for H.R. 676 so that a progressive voice will be in the mix when the final bill is crafted. We need more co-sponsors on H.R. 676-- so get to work!

Here's an alphabetical list of the most current (the 111th Congress) co-sponsors (principal sponsor is again John Conyers):

Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] - 2/11/2009
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 1/26/2009
Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] - 3/17/2009
Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] - 1/26/2009
Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 2/23/2009
Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 2/11/2009
Rep Brown, Corrine [FL-3] - 3/3/2009
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 2/23/2009
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 1/26/2009
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 1/26/2009
Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] - 2/23/2009
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 1/26/2009
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 2/3/2009
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] - 2/23/2009
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 1/26/2009
Rep Delahunt, William D. [MA-10] - 1/26/2009
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 1/26/2009
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 1/26/2009
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 1/26/2009
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 1/26/2009
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 1/26/2009
Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 2/11/2009
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 2/11/2009
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 1/28/2009
Rep Green, Al [TX-9] - 2/23/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 1/26/2009
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 1/26/2009
Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 2/23/2009
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 1/26/2009
Rep Hirono, Mazie K. [HI-2] - 2/23/2009
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 2/11/2009
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 3/5/2009
Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 1/26/2009
Rep Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [GA-4] - 2/3/2009
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 1/26/2009
Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. [RI-1] - 2/23/2009
Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] - 2/23/2009
Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 1/26/2009
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 1/26/2009
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 1/26/2009
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 3/17/2009
Rep Loebsack, David [IA-2] - 3/24/2009
Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] - 3/24/2009
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 2/23/2009
Rep Massa, Eric J. J. [NY-29] - 1/26/2009
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 1/26/2009
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 3/3/2009
Rep Meek, Kendrick B. [FL-17] - 3/24/2009
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] - 1/26/2009
Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 3/19/2009
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 2/11/2009
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 1/26/2009
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 1/26/2009
Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 1/26/2009
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 3/19/2009
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 3/3/2009
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 1/26/2009
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] - 1/28/2009
Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1] - 2/23/2009
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 3/5/2009
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 2/23/2009
Rep Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [VA-3] - 2/23/2009
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 2/23/2009
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] - 1/28/2009
Rep Tonko, Paul D. [NY-21] - 1/26/2009
Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] - 2/23/2009
Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] - 3/19/2009
Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] - 1/26/2009
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] - 2/23/2009
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 2/11/2009
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 1/26/2009
Rep Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3] - 2/23/2009

If you'd like to read the actual legislation, the whole bill is online here. The idea is simple-- Medicare coverage for every American. Here's a summary of what it's supposed to accomplish:
• Every resident of the US will be covered from birth to death.
• No more pre-existing conditions to be excluded from coverage.
• No more expensive deductibles or co-pays.
• All prescription medications will be covered.
• All dental and eye care will be included.
• Mental health and substance abuse care will be fully covered.(1)
• Long term and nursing home services will be included.
• You will always choose your own doctors and hospitals.
• Costs of coverage will be assessed on a sliding scale basis.
• Tremendously simplified system of medical administration.
• Total portability-- your coverage not tied to any job or location.
• Existing Medicare benefits for those over 65 will be vastly improved.
• No corporate bureaucrat will ever come between you and your Doctor to deny your care.

Is your congresscritter on that list above? Yes? Send him or her a thank you note. Not on the list? Call him or her up and find out why. Ask what they don't like about the bill and if they have an answer, ask them if they're forgoing the same kind of health care that we taxpayers give them as part of their jobs.

All the big health care industry folks are out fighting this... big time. They do not want change. Since 1990 the health sector has poured $823,948,241 into direct payments to federal elected officials (not counting the $3,279,855,759 they spent on lobbying since 1998, an amount second only to what the banksters have spent). They're not spending over $4 billion dollars because they are concerned about anyone's health. This money was, pure and simple, pay-offs for politicians to keep a lousy system in place that maximizes profits and minimizes return for taxpayers and patients.

Although most of these legalized bribes went to Republicans, of course, plenty went to Democrats as well ($305,672,383 to Repugs and $259,684,714 to Dems). There are 26 current members of the House who got over a million dollars each. The ones whose names are bolded are not sponsors of the reform bill:

Frank Pallone (D-NJ- $2,498,286)
Charlie Rangel (D-NY- $2,227,304)
Tom Price (R-GA- $2,087,977)
Joe Barton (R-TX- $2,070,012)
John Dingell (D-MI- $2,024,192)
Phil Gingrey (R-GA- $1,755,793)
Steny Hoyer (D-MD- $1,746,448)
Pete Stark (D-CA- $1,724,041)
Roy Blunt (R-MO- $1,599,698)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY- $1,349,022)
Nathan Deal (R-GA- $1,302,932)
Eric Cantor (R-VA- $1,299,674)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA- $1,279,626)
Henry Waxman (D-CA- $1,271,066)
Earl Pomeroy (Blue Dog-ND- $1,201,814)
Dave Camp (R-MI- $1,169,559)
John Boehner (R-OH- $1,162,747)
Michael Burgess (R-TX- $1,156,173)
Ed Whitfield (R-KY- $1,147,680)
Bart Gordon (Blue Dog-TN- $1,144,396)
Ron Paul (R-TX- $1,120,703)
Fred Upton (R-MI- $1,120,252)
Mark Kirk (R-IL- $1,082,616)
Charles Boustany (R-LA- $1,058,536)
Steve Buyer (R-IN- $1,043,899)
Pete Session (R-TX- $1,039,600)

And what about Donna? Individuals connected to the sector have donated $21,975 to her campaign; some contrast! In fact almost all the co-sponsors of the bill have gotten only minimal amounts from the otherwise very generous sector. Al Green (D-TX) has gotten $49,250, Jared Polis (D-CO) $31,305, Eric Massa (D-NY) $45,421, Hank Johnson (D-GA) $49,752, Gwen Moore (D-WI) $39,772, and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) $60,826. They're not exactly fans of populist firebrand Alan Grayson (D-FL) either-- $10,000, probably his children's pediatrician and a couple of wealthy doctors in the neighborhood!

The biggest bribes, though, go to senators who they know will help protect their rip-off scams-- like McCain (R-AZ- $8,595,609), Specter (R-PA- $3,914,733), Baucus (D-MT- $2,797,381), McConnell (R-KY- $2,723,168), Lieberman (I-CT- $2,373,119), Hatch (R-UT- $2,311,744), Alexander (R-TN- $2,056,558), Burr (R-NC- $2,039,094) and Cornyn (R-TX- $1,994,353).

Am I calling them crooks? Am I saying they take bribes from special interests and screwing over American working families in return? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Don't let them get away with it.

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At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Lee said...


Conyers was here 3 weeks ago promoting
single payer. One thing I hadn't thought about was pushing for single payer on the state level at the same time. I do know here in PA Rendell would sign a single payer bill, but we don't have the votes.

I've written some of my husbands suicide. What I didn't write before was our health care nightmare. One day in a fit of anger I put together this short you tube video on what its like to get mental health care EVEN when you have insurance.The video is titled
He wanted what you have..

because I want what our elected officials have.

While his heath care nightmare wasn't the "cause" of his suicide, our insurer made it a WHOLE lot worse

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Good for Elijah Cummings. My wife works with him a lot and she's (almost) in love with him.

And Ron Paul? You're telling me the whole grass-roots internet-driven-candidate myth is not entirely true?

(To be fair, that same myth has been working for Obama as well).

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course they are receivers of bribes. That's what politics is all about. Pay offs and bribes. We must stop the gangs of America from running the country. Only individuals can contribute to political parties. No corporate or religious gangs allowed. Close down K street forever. The Conyers bill is the best we can do and should be passed. Let the Health care lottery/gambling gangs (not industry since they produce nothing) disappear as long as the doctors, nurses and hospitals are still there people can get health care. These folks don't provide health care they just rake the system and are set up as money makers not care givers. Between wall street/financial sector, big pharmacy, insurance and the military industrial complex humanity has been robbed blind.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Richard Stanczak said...

Short answer, YES.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Know said...

Little to be said that hasn't been already, but remember the money used to bribe these tools comes from YOUR pockets, not theirs.

Those many millions come from your insurance payments, hospital stays, and medication costs. Just more of the price of doing business...

It's a frakking racket. And K-Street should be bulldozed.


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