Seven Pharmaceutical Companies Among 36 Top Contributors to Democratic National Convention
Seven pharmaceutical companies are among the 36 top contributors to the Democratic National Convention, donating a total of between $2.5 and $5 million, the Indianapolis Star reports. Leading pharmaceutical company contributors to the convention include Pfizer, Merck, Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. According to the Star, the amount that the pharmaceutical industry has invested in the Democratic convention is "notable because drug companies generally contribute more to Republicans." The Campaign Finance Institute "suspects the industry's contributions to the Democratic convention are related to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who plays a key role in health care debates in the Senate and was a main solicitor of convention funds," the Star reports. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that not including the political conventions, the drug industry has given $5.5 million to federal candidates and parties thus far to the 2004 campaigns -- 69% of which went to Republicans. According to CRP, President Bush so far has received $418,364 for his re-election campaign from drug makers' employees and political action committees, compared with $127,577 given to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) (Groppe, Indianapolis Star, 7/26).
In other convention news, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said that she views her speech Monday about Kerry's health care proposal as an opportunity "to revive the national discussion of how to fix [the health care] problem," CQ Today reports. Baldwin said, "A convention is a particularly important moment to tell people that we haven't forgotten" about health care, adding, "The Bush administration may have forgotten about it. But the Democrats and John Kerry and Tammy Baldwin haven't forgotten about it. We're going to do something about it." According to CQ Today, Baldwin in her televised speech will have to "get voters excited about the Kerry health care plan, which is both complicated and expensive" (Nather, CQ Today, 7/25). Kerry's proposal would cost $653 billion over 10 years and would expand health coverage to an estimated 26.7 million residents. Kerry has said that he would help finance the plan with the repeal of tax cuts for families whose annual incomes exceed $200,000 (California Healthline, 7/19).
Among the "12 taboos" that Democrats will avoid discussing at the convention, they will make "no call for a single-payer health system," presidential candidate Ralph Nader (I) writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece. Nader continues, "[W]e still need health insurance for everyone, a program with quality and cost controls and an emphasis on prevention" that "will save thousands of lives while maintaining patient choice of doctors and hospitals within a competitive, private health care delivery system." He also says that Democrats "will not stand up to business interests that have backed changes that close the courtroom to wrongfully injured and cheated individuals, but not to corporations" (Nader, Boston Globe, 7/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.