Health Care News From the Campaign Trail for the Week of April 4
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) have each received three times as much campaign cash from the health care and pharmaceutical industries as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal, companies cannot contribute to candidates, but campaigns are required to report the names and employers for people who contribute $200 or more.
Since 1990, the health care industry gave 58% of its campaign contributions to Republicans (Mullins, Wall Street Journal, 4/2). Pharmaceutical firms have given 70% of their campaign donations to Republicans since 1990.
In addition, hospitals and nursing homes have donated about one-third the money to McCain that they have contributed to Clinton and Obama.
McCain received $125,000 from the health care industry in February, compared with $441,000 for Clinton and $661,000 for Obama, according to data from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics (Wall Street Journal graphic, 4/2).
Clinton, whose fundraising efforts have been "helped" by "taking a leadership role in health care issues," ranks first among donations from health care firms, even though the industry opposes many of her health care plans, according to the Journal.
Obama to date "was the most popular recipient of donations" from the pharmaceutical industry, the Journal reports.
Overall, McCain has received about $100 million less than each of the two Democratic candidates (Wall Street Journal, 4/2).
- On Saturday, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), said that McCain's health care proposal would not provide health insurance for U.S. residents with pre-existing medical conditions, the Los Angeles Times reports. In addition, according to Elizabeth Edwards, a provision in the McCain proposal that would allow residents to purchase health insurance across state lines would allow companies to shift operations to states with weaker consumer protection laws. McCain senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said that the comments from Elizabeth Edwards indicate that she does not understand the McCain proposal. Clinton and Obama both have announced health care proposals that would require health insurers to accept all applicants, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
- Aides to McCain have been trying to appease critics of his health care plan who want to expand coverage without violating McCain's conservative stance on health care, the Boston Globe reports. McCain has said that he seeks to reduce the role of government in health care and opposes increased regulation of health insurers. McCain has said that the proposal would strengthen the private health insurance market and make coverage more affordable for many low-income families. The proposal would not mandate that health insurers accept applicants with pre-existing medical conditions, a requirement critics say is needed to ensure that millions of residents have access to affordable health insurance. In response to such concerns, McCain has said that he might help residents with pre-existing medical conditions through new provisions of Medicaid or high-risk pools, and McCain aides also have said that he might attempt to use savings in Medicaid to finance additional tax credits for residents with pre-existing medical conditions (Kranish, Boston Globe, 4/3).