Report: Senators vote according to contributions
February 4, 2010
• California’s proposed single-payer insurance delineated by who got money from whom
• Bill expected to be vetoed by governor
Members of the California State Senate followed the money when it came to voting last week on a bill to create a single-payer health insurance program in the state, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan MAPLight.org of Berkeley.
Sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Rafael, the bill would prohibit the sale of any private health insurance policy in the state and establish a new California Healthcare System as the primary payer for health care services in California.
The vote was largely along party lines: 22 Democrats voted for the bill and one Democrat joined with 13 Republicans to vote against.
MAPLight.org found that senators who voted against single-payer health care, siding with health insurers, received an average of $43,633 each from health insurers and HMOs in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles — 97 percent more than the $22,185 received by those voting for the bill.
The one Democrat who crossed party lines, Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, received $56,782, which is 2.5 times as much as the average senate Democrat. Correa received more than $8,000 each from Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and United Health Care.
According to the legislature’s most recent bill analysis, health insurance companies and HMOs opposing the bill include: America's Health Insurance Plans, Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies, California Association of Health Plans, California Association of Health Underwriters, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net California.
Other organizations such as the California Chamber of Commerce, California Independent Grocers Association, California Taxpayers' Association, Concerned Women for America and the National Federation of Independent Business oppose the bill, arguing that “competition among private companies leads to lower costs and better care.”
The bill now moves to the Assembly. Gov. Schwarzenegger has vetoed similar bills in previous sessions (SB 840 in September 2006 and September 2008) and has pledged to veto this bill as well if it reaches his desk.
Details of the analysis, including a list of each state senator, their vote on the single-payer health care plan, and campaign contributions to each from health care insurers and HMOs can be found at http://maplight.org/ca-senate-single-payer-health-care-vote.
MAPLight.org describes its mission as “to illuminate the connection between Money and Politics (MAP) using a groundbreaking database of campaign contributions and legislative votes.”
MAPLight.org combines data from the Federal Election Commission, the Center for Responsive Politics, GovTrack.us, the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP), the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and other sources.
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