HOW MONEY IN POLITICS
AFFECTS YOUR LIFE AND HEALTH
have a major impact on health care and other issues. The issues citizens care
about are influenced by big-spending special interests whose campaign contributions
drown out the voices and opinions of individuals.
impact of campaign contributions on your health:
1. Industry interests
opposed to new standards for patient care have stepped up their political giving.
- Just in the
first six months of the 1999-2000 election cycle, industry groups have contributed
more than $4 million in soft money to political parties.
by the two main trade groups for the industry, the American Association of
Health Plans (AAHP) and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA),
increased dramatically in the first half of 1997 compared to the same period
in previous election years.
Patients Hostage: The Unhealthy Alliance Between HMOs & Senate Leaders
(April 5, 2000)
2. Drugs cost more
because of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.
- Since 1991,
the companies belonging to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of
America (PHRMA), the trade group for brand-name drug makers, have given more
than $18.6 million in political contributions.
- With the help
of that influence, brand-name drug companies have kept their bottom lines
healthy by successfully convincing Congress to let them hold onto their drug
- Loss of access
to generic drugs costs consumers as much as $550 million a year.
the Prescription Drug Industry "Buys" Special Influence in Washington
(January 18, 2000)
- Current Legislation
on Schering-Plough efforts to extend patent on Claritin http://www.citizen.org/congress/drugs/factshts/indexclaritin.htm
3. Campaign contributors
are seeking to influence lawmakers' votes on health issues at all levels of
government. For example:
seeking to restrict the ability of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) to enforce worker health and safety regulations increased their political
contributions when the issue came before Congress in 1995.
to a pass needlestick protection provision for public hospital workers
not covered by OSHA.
- According to
a Massachusetts study, the health care industry was the largest source of
campaign contributions to members of the health care committees of the Massachusetts
legislature between 1989 and 1991. The same study exposed a 250-percent jump
in industry contributions during the two-year period, a time when health care
legislation became a top priority in the state.
- A Los Angeles
group established a link between insurance industry contributions to the state
insurance commissioner and a host of pro-industry actions. The cost to consumers:
$221 million in the commissioner's first 30 days in office.
- In the aftermath
of Ford/Firestone tragedies, Auto Safety legislation is rolled back
by special interests. $38 million paid off in auto industry: Secrecy
of safety defect information secured.
action against food poisoning is at a standstill in the face of millions in
- Thousands of
Americans die each year -- and millions more become sick -- from the food
they eat, and the number of disease-producing agents in the nation's food
supply is growing.
- Congress, however,
consistently has ignored the growing threat to the public health posed by
the slaughter and meatpacking industry.
- Over the past
decade, the food industry poured more than $41 million into the campaign treasuries
of Capitol Hill lawmakers and managed to kill every bill that has promised
have an impact on the issues you care about. That means you should care about
the role of money in politics. See
more about how soft money hurts consumers
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