Monday, September 21, 2009

Death Panels, The Money Behind the Monikers

This Sunday, the Rep. minority leader from Ohio John Boehner, was on Meet the Press. See the interview here Short from calling President Obama a socialist, Boehner decried the Health reform initiative as a government takeover that would result in higher taxes and increased spending. Without a structural overhaul, a republican halfway reform would merely subsidize insurance companies, allowing them to continue their monopolies and price structures. That being said, this is not the place to debate the implications of potential plans. My issue is the PR campaign that is being waged by big insurance companies, their congressional contacts and protesting blowhards. Indeed, Human Inc., the second largest provider of medicare plans sent letters to beneficiaries, stating that "millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable". The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services has launched an investigation into Humana's efforts to rally seniors with false information and for violating the terms of their provider status as a bully pulpit to effect legislation. Jonathan Blum, CMS's acting director said the agency "places strict limits and oversight on how plans communicate with beneficiaries. There's a potential violation of CMS's marketing rule." Is there any other explanation needed to explain the rise of angry old people at townhall meetings. The biggest tragedy of this whole debate are the working class protesters who have been moved by fear, bigotry and obtuse slogans to cheer against a reform that would benefit them.

Is Boehner principally against the public option? He may be, but the number trail tells of other incentives. This first figure from Open reveals that the number one contributor to Boehner's reelection bids are members of the Insurance idustry:
Our second figure shows his money as compared to the average house number. Is it any coincidence that his money, a plurality of which is from insurance companies, has astronomically peaked as the health care debate has heated up?

These last two figures show that on average, the Insurance industry has made the majority of their contributions to Republicans, with only an average of 32% given to Democrats. Lastly, the bar graph on the left shows that spending is trending uncharacteristically towards the democrats.(blue bar is dems, red is republicans). This is because there is no need for the industry to pay those Republicans already in their pockets, they are reaching out to the Blue Dog Democrats with cash in an effort to strike down reform from both angles. This is the only explanation for the break in the 18 year trend. DEATH PANNELS!!!

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