Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alert: Money trumps the human right to health and the public interest

Over many months, we've learned about the huge amounts the health care [sic] industry spent lobbying Congress and influencing the 2008 Congressional elections. Now, Brad Jacobson documents that candidate Obama was also heavily funded by the same interests. In "Obama Received $20 Million from Health Care Industry in 2008 Campaign" he reports that Obama "received almost three times the amount given to McCain" including $11.7m from health professionals, $1.4m from health services and HMOs, $3.3m from hospitals and nursing homes, and $2.1m from pharmaceutical and health product companies. The health insurance industry donated $712,317 as well.

As Jacobson writes, such contributions must account for the fact that candidate Obama advocated for universal health care and criticized mandated health insurance, while President Obama excluded single-payer advocates from White House healthcare summits and has strongly endorsed mandates.

ACT NOW - Don't hesitate
House members returned to Congress on January 12. Call your Representative to say you want the ERISA waiver, originally proposed in an amendment to the House Bill by Rep. Kucinich, included in the House/Senate negotiations on the final bill.

ERISA, the federal law that oversees employee benefit plans, including health insurance, can be used to challenge state-level singlepayer programs.

An ERISA waiver will allow state singlepayer healthcare legislation now underway specifically in California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to move forward without a federal challenge at the behest of the for-profit insurance industry.

Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121, or online Congressional directory here.

Thank you for taking action today!

Nancy, Peter, David, Rick, Barbara, Ruth W., Ruth C., and Lou
Alliance for Democracy's Committee for Single Payer Health Care

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