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Health Insurance Companies Spend Staggering Sum Fighting Health Reform

When it comes to big business and corporate interests, to figure out what truly matters one need only follow the money. The way in which these entities spend money and allocate resources often tells you all you need to know about what motivates the group.

For example, our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys work closely with many different insurances companies and medical providers with our work helping those hurt by medical negligence. Unfortunately, instead of dedicating themselves to fairness and better care for all, many of those groups focus exclusively on their own bottom line. As a result, that leads them to spend staggering amounts of money on political issues that might affect their bottom line. The well-being of society or those injured are ignored at those times.

Hundred Million Dollar Advocacy
For example, a Truth Out report this week explored how health insurance companies spent well over $100 million to kill health reform efforts. A National Journal report first broke the story which revealed that health insurance companies funnelled about $107 million into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s advertising budget in an effort to influence and ultimately stop effort to prevent reform of the current national healthcare system. The financial maneuverings have been called one of the largest “electioneering outside money efforts in American history.”

In addition, one health insurance company AETNA secretly sent more than $7 million to a 501(c) group–American Action Network–to be spent exclusively on television ads.

All told the money was mostly spent trying to elect Republican congressional candidates that ran on a platform to repeal health reform efforts.

What is Means
Each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm understands that this sort of revelation is a reminder of the disingenuous claims made by so many who oppose health reform efforts but advocate for “tort reform” laws. For example, the Chamber of Commerce presents itself as the representative of thousands of small businesses. When ads were run sponsored by the Chamber, it was reasonable for community members to assume that the ads presented the views of those businesses. Yet, that isn’t true. Instead, as this report demonstrates, almost all of that money was provided by insurance and financial entities trying to influence policy that they found more favorable to their own interests. The interests of the general population (or even small businesses) was not at issue.

The Cause
Of course, legal observers pointed out the potential for this sort of hidden financial infiltration in political campaign since the Citizens United law was handed down. The ruling essentially struck down campaign finance laws that placed limits on how much money individual entities could contribute. Since the lid came off, hundreds of millions of dollars have filtered into (mis)information campaigns.

Sadly, this sort of concentrated corporate financial effort will likely be used to target tort reform efforts down the road. As such it will be important for all those who care about the rights of medical malpractice victims and other harmed by medical negligence to do their part to fight back against misguided propaganda efforts.

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