According to the Open Secrets website, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, insures over 80 million Americans and has a Federal Government contract to review and process Medicare claims. During the 2016 election cycle, they made $6,346,640 in campaign contributions and spent $25,006,109 on lobbying efforts.
The top organization recipient was the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee (Republican Convention) receiving $1,000,000. They were followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee at $187,800, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at $121,830, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at $119,431, the National Republican Senatorial Committee at $111,000, and the DNC Services Corp (a Political Action Committee (PAC) extension of the Democrat National Committee) at $102,845.
This is redefining spreading the wealth around.
The top political candidates receiving Blue Cross/Blue Shield money were Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at $256,101 (they thought she’d win too) followed second by House of Representatives candidate and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at $60,850. Way down the list, but there just the same, is Presidential candidate Donald Trump at $12,235. The list of House Republican candidates receiving Blue Cross/Blue Shield money either through PACs or from individuals is long. Actually longer than the Democrat list and certainly, in my view, long enough to make suspect any potential Republican crafted health care legislation or vote. You will also find “Republican Freedom Caucus” names on the list including past Chairman Jim Jordan (OH) and new Chairman Mark Meadows (NC), my very own Congressman Alex Mooney (WV) among others: Mick Mulvaney (SC), Ron Desantis (FL), Jim Birdenstine (OK), Trent Franks (AZ), Dave Brat (VA), Keith Rothfus (PA), Gary Palmer (AL), Jeff Duncan (SC), and probably some I missed, and the topper former Representative and now Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price. Perceptions are hell, but it appears to me that insurance cash runs deep in Washington even through the “Freedom Caucus.” Freedom from what? In the words of that great philosopher Kris Kristofferson:
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,
And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free,
Oh, the tangled web we weave.
I certainly do not have a problem with legal campaign contributions, but I get concerned when an insurance carrier as large a Blue Cross/Blue Shield spreads around this much cash and even more concerned when this many politicians elected and sworn to fix our looming health care disaster are recipients of it. When that happens, what real chance does average Middle Class America have at getting legislation that favors them?
Well Mr. Trump, you were going to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is one big reason why you were elected and why you have a Republican House and Republican Senate. It appears however, that before you can do any of that, you need to drain the swamp. And another great philosopher once told me:
When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is hard to remember that the mission was to drain the swamp.
Mr. President, you were elected because Americans have tired of Washington as usual. The Washington establishment is largely bought and paid for by corporate donors (Paul Ryan Major Donors 2016) (Mitch McConnell Major Donors). The two men most needed to accomplish your promised bold agenda are beholden to health insurance companies, investment companies, big banks, and Koch industries.
As your Rolling Stones campaign music says:
“you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you can get what you need.”
You are going to have to beat off a heck of a lot of alligators before you can pull the plug that drains that swamp. To get “what you need” is going to require a coalition of decent men and women regardless of political persuasion willing to solve problems and serve the people before they serve their donors or their rigid ideology. Only you can put out the call for these people to come forward and serve America. That is why we elected you. And to paraphrase the words of another Stones hit, time ain’t on your side brother.
© 2017 J. D. Pendry