The Fundraising Legislature
by Daniel Newman, San Francisco Chronicle
Lobbyist cash doesn’t only infect Congress. California’s Legislature suffers the same malady.
MAPLight.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit in Berkeley that works to illuminate the connection between money and politics, studied last month’s vote in the state Senate on a single-payer health care bill.
MAPLight.org found that senators who voted no on the bill had received an average of $43,633 from health insurers – 97 percent more than senators who voted yes.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would prohibit the sale of any private health insurance policy in the state and establish a new California Healthcare System as the primary payer for health care services in California.
The bill now moves to the Assembly. The governor has vetoed similar bills and has pledged to veto this one, should it reach his desk.
The vote details:
Yes votes: 22 Democrats
No votes: 13 Republicans, plus Democrat Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana (who received $56,782 from health insurers).
For: California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association, American Association of University Women, Consumer Federation of California, Health Access of California, League of Women Voters, Los Angeles Unified School District, Service Employees International Union.
Opposed: America’s Health Insurance Plans, Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies, California Association of Health Plans, California Association of Health Underwriters, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net California, California Chamber of Commerce, California Taxpayers’ Association.
Daniel Newman is the executive director of MAPLight.org. For more details, including how each senator voted, and the money they received, go to maplight.org/ca-senate-single-payer-health-care-vote.