If money talks, it is positively screaming in the health care debate. $80,831,142.00 in political contributions from individuals, industries, and political action committees from the insurance, big pharma, hospitals and health professionals on one side to retirees on the other, have contributed heavily in this election cycle to make sure that politicians are hearing them loud and clear.
Using data acquired on the individual and PAC activities of the senators and representatives in Congress from OpenSecrets.org, pooling together the data from all of the directly interested parties in the health care debate, it is clear that many elected officials home for the recess are putting their mouths where their money is.
There are very few in Congress who take no money from any of the people and groups with interests in health care policy. There are many who don't take much. All have been listed so you can see what money may be motivating your elected officials as the push towards health care reform continues.
Data was accumulated on the 2010 cycle. Senators' war chests stretch back to 2005 in the cycle. Reps are filed from 1-3 years. Insurance industry figures include both health care related and non-related insurance givers, but all tend to favor as little regulation as possible, so the cumulative giving is still focused on defeating or hamstringing health care legislation.
Regardless of whether you can break the money down into smaller chunks over time or not, or cherry pick the influencing groups, the total cash, including the staggering millions that Sen. John McCain has taken from the retirees, tell you that, without a very loud and active voice in the health care debate from the citizens who will vote in 2010, the moneyed interests will see their investments in political influence reap big dividends.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours...
John McCain's staggering take from the retirees is a legacy of his presidential bid, but of the others in the millionaires club here, Max Baucus, who is spearheading the health care legislation for the Dems, has $1.5 million in money from the insurance lobby and health professionals padding his seat at the table, almost $130,000 more than Chris Dodd, who was lambasted by the media for his ties to big insurance.
Takin' Care of Business...
It is little surprise that some of the loudest voices on Capitol Hill come out of this group whose campaign coffers received between half a million and $999,999.99.
For the list of mid-six figure politicians, see part II. The HuffPo system is only designed to handle so many lines to an article.