Health-industry contributions match Udall, Bennet stances on public option

The Washington Independent last week reported on a letter signed by 30 U.S. Senate Democrats urging Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to include a public insurance option in any bill the Democrats bring to the chamber floor in the coming days. That means 70 senators didn’t sign it, including Democrats like Colorado’s Mark Udall.

Campaign finance watchdog group MapLight looked into the matter. When it comes to accepting cash from the health industry and then doing what looks to be its bidding, bipartisanship rules the day!

The 30 Senators who signed the letter in support of the public option received an average of $15,937 in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry between January 2003 and June 2009, which amounts to 57 percent less than the $37,322 received by the 70 senators who did not sign the letter.

Udall took in $29,000 from “Accident and Health Insurance Interests,” according to MapLight. He didn’t sign the letter. Bennet took in $2,000. He signed the letter.

No Republicans signed the letter, of course, but MapLight found that among the 30 Democrats who likewise did not sign, the industry donated an average of $34,400 in the same time period. That’s 54 percent more than the amounts donated to the Democrats who endorsed the public plan.

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