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Will Insurer & Drug Money Leash the 'Blue Dogs'?

WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The "Blue Dog Coalition," a group of 51 conservative and moderate House democrats who now oppose a strong public option to for-profit health insurers, took $1.7 million in campaign contributions since 2005 from the health insurance and drug industries according to Consumer Watchdog.

On the Senate side, Politico reported today that Mary Landrieu (D-LA) now opposes the public option. Landrieu received $40,080 from health insurers and $75,800 from drug companies.

Download Consumer Watchdog's analysis of health insurer and drug company contributions to the Blue Dogs:$.xls

"The insurer and drug lobbies are leashing the Blue Dogs with $1.7 million in campaign contributions to keep them from fighting on behalf of a public alternative to for-profit health care," said Carmen Balber, Director of Consumer Watchdog's D.C. Office. "What the Blue Dogs are telling us is that the insurance and drug companies should be trusted, but that's because they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. That's no comfort to the millions of Americans who have been mistreated by their insurance companies, much less those that can't afford health care due to the greed of the private market."

Total health insurer contributions to the Blue Dogs = $839,806

Total pharmaceutical company contributions to the Blue Dogs = $896,734

For more information about the Blue Dogs' position on the "public option" see the "June 4" post at:

The Center for Responsive Politics compiled federal campaign contribution data from the Federal Elections Commission for the 2006 and 2008 election cycles for use in this analysis.

Download Consumer Watchdog's analysis of the campaign contributions to the entire Congress:

** Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to Congressional leaders listing 10 patient abuses perpetrated by HMOs and health insurers that are currently not addressed by the House and Senate reform proposals.

** Read Consumer Watchdog's letter calling on Senator Baucus and members of the U.S. Finance Committee to publicly answer ten questions about how requiring all Americans to show proof of insurance or face tax penalties will provide affordable health care.

** Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to President Obama and Sens. Kennedy and Baucus warning them not to agree to the health insurers' plan to gut state health care laws.

** Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) urging that he continue to protect patients consistent with the principles he has articulated during his 40 year career.

** Read Consumer Watchdog's analysis of health insurer and drug company contributions to members of Congress.

** Read about a recent national poll that found that 65% of voters support giving every American of any age the option of joining Medicare; 60% are willing to pay more in payroll deductions for this option.

** Read about a national poll that found, by contrast, that only 16% of U.S. voters support, and 53% oppose, the insurance industries' plan of requiring every American to provide proof of private health insurance or face tax penalties or other fines.

Consumer Watchdog is a non-partisan consumer advocacy organization. Visit us on the web at

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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