Congress scrutinized for payor, pharma donations

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The top 10 recipients of donations from health insurers and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives received $5.5 million during the last two election cycles--when healthcare reform dominated political discourse, according to an analysis from the nonprofit, independent group Consumer Watchdog.

Payors contributed $2.2 million to the top 10 members of the U.S. Senate and House, while drugmakers contributed $3.3 million to the top 10 recipients in each legislative body. In all, health insurers and drug manufacturers contributed approximately $24.22 million to the current members of Congress in the last two election cycles.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who has become the leading congressional advocate for healthcare reform, received more campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries than any other current Democratic member of the House or Senate. Baucus received $183,750 from health insurance companies and $229,020 from drug companies, according to the consumer group.

At the March 5 White House summit on healthcare reform, Baucus said that the insurance companies and drug companies had told him they would help drive a solution. Baucus's plan would require every American to show proof of insurance, with those who do not receive coverage from an employer or are not in Medicaid or Medicare forced to buy a private health insurance policy. Under his plan, failure to show proof of insurance would result in tax fines.

"HMO and drug company money will sour the President's plan for affordable, accessible healthcare if these industries' backers on Capitol Hill allow their financial interests to drive the debate," said Carmen Balber, director of consumer Watchdog's Washington D.C. office.

Consumer Watchdog said its analysis ranks industry contributions to members of the 111th Congress in the House and Senate--totals for former Sens. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and President Barack Obama are not included in the rankings.

Top 10 Senate Recipients of Health Insurer Money Top 10 House Recipients of Health Insurer Money
Senator Amount Representative Amount
McCain, John (R-AZ) $251,834 Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $113,850
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $200,200 Camp, Dave (R-MI) $112,923
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $183,750 Pomeroy, Earl (D-ND) $104,500
Lieberman, Joe (I-CT) $101,400 Boehner, John (R-OH) $101,200
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) $98,600 Deal, Nathan (R-GA) $100,000
Collins, Susan (R-ME) $96,500 Towns, Edolphus (D-NY) $87,750
Kyl, Jon (R-AZ) $90,450 Rogers, Mike (R-AL) $74,000
Warner, Mark (D-VA) $89,700 Blunt, Roy (R-MO) $72,800
Hatch, Orrin (R-UT) $85,903 Ryan, Paul (R-WI) $69,000
Nelson, Ben (D-NE) $83,300 Tanner, John (D-TN) $68,500
Top 10 Senate Recipients of Drug Company Money Top 10 House Recipients of Drug Company Money
Senator Amount Representative Amount
McCain, John (R-AZ) $294,603 Barton, Joe (R-TX) $187,100
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $229,020 Dingell, John (D-MI) $180,300
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $225,200 Boehner, John (R-OH) $156,125
Lieberman, Joe (I-CT) $196,540 Frelinghuysen, Rodney (D-NJ) $152,850
Hatch, Orrin (R-UT) $186,900 Clyburn, James (D-SC) $145,514
Spectre, Arlen (R-PA) $179,650 Buyer, Steve (R-IN) $141,350
Mendez, Robert (D-NJ) $147,243 Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $135,600
Enzi, Mike (R-WY) $134,500 Rogers, Mike (R-AL) $133,946
Kyl, Jon (R-AZ) $118,350 Blunt, Roy (R-MO) $133,500
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $115,900 Gerlach, Jim (R-PA) $131,660