Health Care Lobbyists Whistle: Blue Dog Dems Come Running

July 31, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A group of Conservative Blue Dog Democrats is joining with Republicans to delay, obstruct and water down any meaningful health care reform for the American people. And a new study from the Public Campaign Action Fund reveals the reason why.

Many Blue Dogs receive significantly greater campaign contributions from the health care industry than other Democrats, leading some to wonder who they really serve: their constituents or their health insurance and pharmaceutical company masters.

Not to overuse the dog analogies here, but the Public Campaign Action Fund study reveals the Blue Dogs as cozy lap dogs to the interests of the health care industry. As the Blue Dogs continue to hold sway blocking and delaying health care reform, the more cash that rolls into their campaign coffers and the Blue Dog PAC, from the grateful health care sector.

The Blue Dog PAC collected more than $1.1 million through June and most of the cash came from the health-care, insurance and financial services industries. Firms, such a Pfizer, Nvartis, WellPoint and Northwestern Mutual Life have contributed to the Blue Dog PAC.

According to the study, seven Blue Dog health reform obstructionists who serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Mike Ross (Ark.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Charlie Melancon (La.), Jim Matheson (Utah), John Barrow (Ga.), Bart Gordon (Tenn.) and Zach Space (Ohio), have received, on average, $711,828 from health and insurance interests, while their Democratic colleagues on the committee have received, on average, $83,805 less, or $628,023.

“Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee outpace both the Blue Dogs and all Democrats with an average total of $1,048,443 from the interested industries.”

Contribution patterns for Blue Dogs show that they receive about 25 percent more from the health-care and insurance industries than other Democrats, with the American Medical Association being one of the top contributors.

Rep. Ross, the Blue Dog leader on the committee, and a former pharmacy owner, raked in more than $980,000 from the health care industry. Rep. Gordon received about $1.4 million in health care funds, with Rep. Matheson receiving more than $1 million.

Ross is exceptionally cozy with his health care contributors, benefiting from about seven fundraisers and luncheons held on his behalf, by health-care companies or their lobbyists this year.

So far, the Blue Dogs have been successful in slowing down health care reform, while doing what they can to weaken it. In recent days, the Blue dogs wrangled concessions from Democratic committee members, which include higher payments for rural providers and a weakening of the government public health option.

But progressive Democrats are starting to cry foul; questioning whose interests the Blue Dogs truly serve. Richard Kirsch, of Health Care for America Now, a liberal group supporting health reform says, “The Blue Dogs are carrying water for the industry instead of their constituents.” “In effect, the Blue Dogs and the Republicans are taking positions that are closer all the time and further away from what most Americans want,” said Kirsch.

In addition to receiving boatloads of cash from the health care industry, a study by the Huffington Post reveals there is a revolving door between former staffers of the Blue Dogs and pharmaceutical lobbying firms.

David Donnelly, of the Public Campaign Action Fund, perfectly described the blatant conflict of interests displayed by the Blue Dogs, as they seek to shape health care reform, “When we see significant fundraising to one segment of Congress, it raises serious questions about the campaign finance system and whether it works to the benefit of all Americans.”


3 Responses to “Health Care Lobbyists Whistle: Blue Dog Dems Come Running”

  1. Posts about Huffington Post as of July 31, 2009 » The Daily Parr on July 31st, 2009 2:42 pm

    […] healthcare, taxes on small business job creators, and a huge energy tax on middle class families. Health Care Lobbyists Whistle: Blue Dog Dems Come Running – 07/31/2009 (ChattahBox)—A group of Conservative Blue Dog Democrats is joining […]

  2. Old Man Dotes on July 31st, 2009 5:37 pm

    Why does this surprise anyone? The only difference between a politician and a whore is that the whore doesn’t pretend that what she does is for your own good.

  3. jon McCall on August 4th, 2009 11:38 am

    These congress bastards should go start to jail then to hell!
    To think they have great government funded health care and they are trying to stop the poor and weak from getting any, it’s cruel, selfish and immoral, these congress people are tools of the devil.

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