Nurses Release Report on Pharma’s Political Funding

Chicago is not the only place where healthcare workers are rallying behind Michael Moore and his new film Sicko: California Nurses have launched a "Scrubs for SICKO" campaign. But the California Nurses Association also released a report yesterday, which studies pharma and healthcare contributions to U.S. Presidential contenders. The research was done by the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee's Institute for Health and Socioeconomic Policy. The upcoming election will be the most important in recent history for the industry. Of the $12.8 million that healthcare and pharma have spent on campaign funding since 1989, the report says, a whopping $3.7 million was received in the first quarter of this year alone. Analyzing direct pharma company contributions as well as those from banks and security and investment firms active in healthcare and Health Savings Accounts, the report found that Mitt Romney of Massachusetts leads in terms of funding, Sen. Christopher Dodd is the top beneficiary of insurance and HMO donations, while Clinton leads among donations from health professionals and lobbyists. In addition, the report notes that: "¢ Escalating political spending coincides with huge jumps in healthcare industry profits. From 2002 to 2006, pharmaceutical profits climbed from $64.4 billion to $94.8 billion, and insurance profits from $20.8 billion in 2002 to $57.5 billion. "¢ Financial firms have become an increasingly bigger player in healthcare and in political contributions. Nearly 1,100 banks now offer Health Savings Accounts, triple the number from 2005 and some big insurers, like Blue Cross/Blue Shield and UnitedHealth are chartering their own banks to get into the new lucrative market. The finance industry ranks third, behind healthcare and communications/technology in lobbying expenditures. For more information on the report from Deborah Burger, President of the California  Nurses Association (the full report doesn't seem to be posted yet), click here. -AMS