Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roberts: 72 hour delay to let insuance lobbyists look at bill

From Think Progress.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) offered a defense of Bunning’s amendment by arguing that the 72-hour provision was critical because it provides time for senators to consult with health insurance lobbyists:

All the Senator from Kentucky is asking is for 72 hours to determine the cost. Senator Snowe has spoken eloquently about sunshine, and the openness, and the fact that the American people would support this 90 percent, 95 percent. But the thing that I’m trying to point out is we would have at least 72 hours for the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all of the legislation that we pass around here, and the regulations that we pass around here, to say “hey, wait a minute. Have you considered this?” And that’s all I’m asking for — is not only cost, but also the content of a bill. And that 72 hours, I think, is highly, highly important.

To be clear, Roberts is referring to health insurance lobbyists when he references the “people that the providers have hired to keep up with all of the legislation.” Watch it:

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Roberts has received over $172,000 in political contribution from insurance companies over the last five years. Unsurprisingly, Roberts opposes a public option because, he claims, “it won’t work.” Presumably, that’s because that’s what health insurance lobbyists have told him.

Roberts has received $844,569 from the health care industry between 2000-2008, according to Common Cause (source: Center for Responsive Politics).

Quote from the report:

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 2002, had never raised more than $100,000 from the health industries in a previous cycle. In 2007, he took a seat on the Senate Finance Committee and its Health Subcommittee, and in the 2007-08 cycle alone he raised over $710,000 from health industries, including $116,500 from health insurers. In early 2009, Roberts introduced an industry-friendly amendment to the SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) extension, seeking to lower the income level under which children are eligible for state insurance program. The amendment failed.

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