Pelosi bites hand that feeds her?
“Immoral” and “villains” are among the words she has used to describe the companies for their opposition to a publicly run health plan. And she has castigated their policies of refusing to take care of pre-existing medical conditions and capping benefits of cancer patients.
“The glory days are coming to an end,” Pelosi warned those companies, vowing to build support for the bill she’s pushing.
But will the tough talk bring to an end insurance industry campaign contributions to Pelosi?
For the current 2009-2010 election cycle, insurance industry contributions to Pelosi total $41,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Only health professionals have given her more money, $113,000, according to the group, which tracks campaign contributions to lawmakers and lobbying activities. In the 2007-2008, of the top 20 industries contributing to her, insurance contributions ranked fifth, totaling $177,000 out of a total $3.78 million raised.
“As the Speaker’s opposition to the health insurance companies being in charge of America’s health care shows, there is no link between political contributions and positions on policy,” said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi.
Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, said of the mismatch between the contributions and Pelosi’s criticisms: “They have a right to donate money to her. She has a right speak her mind.”
He notes that insurance industry campaign contributions to Pelosi’s re-election campaigns and a separate “leadership” campaign fund have risen dramatically in the last couple years, as healthcare reform prospects have risen.
“It is possible they may look in a different direction” if they conclude she’s not going to be “receptive to their influence,” Levinthal adds.
Cue up Bruce Spingsteen and “Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by.”
Photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (Pelosi at July 22 news conference)