For the 2010 election season, industries have ramped up their political campaign contributions–hoping to also ramp up their influence. This year, lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans, as well as the five largest health insurance companies, have given three times as much money to Republican candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The question many may have is: why did health insurers donate money to Democrats in the first place? For the most part, lobbyists do not have specific political ideologies; they will donate to whatever party they believe can most succeed in bringing about their goals. Last year, President Barack Obama was triumphantly inagurated, and the Democratic party controlled (albeit narrowly) both houses of Congress. In other words, if anything was going get done, it would have to get past Democrats.
Healthcare reform was always one of the Obama administration’s first priorities. Insurance companies contributed to Democratic politicians in order to make them more sympathetic to their interests in the debate. In many respects, they succeeded–insurers are largely responsible for helping torpedo the government-run public option supported by most liberals. They also managed to retain the lucrative individual mandate, which supposedly leads to more affordable health insurance by bringing more customers into the pool.
However, the political climate is changing. The Tea Party movement has fired up many conservatives, and they have been speaking at the polls by defeating moderate GOP incumbents in their primaries in favor of far-right candidates. Democrats are predicted to lose their majority in Congress, so interest groups must get in good with the potential new members of Congress, so that they will “owe them one”.
At the same time, President Obama’s popularity ratings have been slipping. In order to shore up support, he has begun painting the health insurance industry as a villain, as opposed to an ally. The Department of Health and Human Services is tasked with writing specific guidelines the industry must abide by, and there are some indications that those policy predictions will be stricter.
About the Author:
Yamileth Medina is an up and coming expert on Health Insurance and Healthcare Reform. She aims to help people realize that they can find affordable health insurance right now. Yamileth lives in Miami, FL.