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Health Insurance Industry Once Again Hoping Investment Pays Off
Date:12/3/2009

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Common Cause and Public Campaign:

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is offering an amendment to the health care reform bill that would repeal the health insurance industry's legal exemptions for violations such as price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation. The insurance industry fiercely opposes the repeal, which would subject health insurance companies to the same federal antitrust laws that already apply to most other businesses.

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, health insurance companies have donated $17.5 million - an average of $176,574 per U.S. senator - since 1989 to current members of the Senate, who will likely vote on the amendment in the coming days.

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who has received $536,846 from health insurance companies, has reportedly moved to block the amendment from inclusion in the Senate bill. He is one of 30 Senators who have received at least $200,000 from this industry since 1989.

The vote for continued legal immunity for health insurance companies will test the free market principles espoused by many Senators, as the existing antitrust exemptions for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies amounts to an unfair advantage for these companies. The free market principle assumes companies operate under the same rules.

"This is yet another example in the health care reform debate where the health insurance industry is hoping its $17.5 million investment in the U.S. Senate pays off," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. "If we want policies that are truly in the public's interest - like this proposal to repeal legal protections for the health insurance industry - we need to take the special interests out of the business of funding political campaigns."

"The debate over this amendment and
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SOURCE Common Cause and Public Campaign
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