Reform Is `Money Magnet' Health-Care Bill Brings Gifts to Lawmakers

By Compiled From News Services | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 13, 1994 | Go to article overview

Reform Is `Money Magnet' Health-Care Bill Brings Gifts to Lawmakers


Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


They were the first in Congress to take a crack at President Bill Clinton's health-care reforms, a distinction that has brought financial largesse to the 11 members of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee.

They have been showered with nearly $600,000 in contributions from the health-care and insurance lobbies during this year's election cycle, according to a review of campaign reports through March 31.

The $579,352 total from lobbyists associated with health-care interests marks almost a threefold increase over the same period in the last election cycle, when the same members got just $206,135 from health and insurance political action committees.

"It's pretty obvious that health-care legislation has become the money magnet for members of this subcommittee," said Ellen Miller, executive director of the private Center for Responsive Politics.

More than $120,000 of this year's contributions came during the first three months of the year, when the subcommittee held hearings and eventually passed a modified version of Clinton's plan on a 6-5 vote.

The total is a mere fraction of the millions in political donations expected to be spent this year to influence the landmark legislation, which will pass through several House and Senate committees.

An analysis of contributions to the Ways and Means subcommittee offers a glimpse of how lobbyists target donations to pending legislation - and how lawmakers often conduct the business of fund raising around their congressional work.

At least two members of the subcommittee - Nancy L. Johnson, R-Conn., and Gerald D. Kleczka, D-Wis. - scheduled fund raisers in March as the subcommittee was preparing to vote. Among the biggest givers at those events were health and insurance industry lobbyists. …

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