Carper Denies Influence of $223,000 From Insurance Companies

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009 at 8:49 am

Here’s some persistence you don’t see everyday from a press corps charged with monitoring Congress: MSNBC’s David Shuster grilling Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) Monday on the relationship between the $223,000 Carper’s taken from insurance companies in the last four years and his opposition to the public plan option those same companies are trying desperately to kill. (Carper instead supports a trigger mechanism, allowing the public plan option if the private insurers don’t voluntarily meet certain coverage and affordability targets.)

Shuster: Why shouldn’t people believe that your decision to say a public option as backup plan — why shouldn’t people believe that it’s been influenced by the money you’ve gotten from the insurance companies and from pharmaceuticals who don’t want a backup plan, who want it as — who don’t want a public option, at all, or a backup plan as a worst-case scenario?

Carper: Well, at the end of the day, I want us to pass a bill. I want us to pass a good bill … At the end of the day, there are more important things in the bill than whether or not we have a public plan or a public option. I think the idea of what we did in the Medicare Part D plan, where we have a fallback plan on the shelf, ready to pull out if we need it, in order to make sure market forces are working, that seems to me to be a perfectly good option.

Shuster: But, Senator, you’re under a lot of pressure, wouldn’t you acknowledge, from the insurance companies, with all the money they’ve given you?

Carper: I don’t feel a lot of pressure at all. The most effective lobbyist for me — I’ve been governor; I’ve been congressman; I’ve been state treasurer; now I’m the senator — the most effective lobbyist, for me, in everything I have ever done, are actually people from Delaware that I know that I trust who talk to me, in all kinds of parades all over my state this last Fourth of July weekend, and people that call my office, mostly from Delaware, that have a view, some for public plans, some against it.

“The best way to do it,” Carper concluded, “is to develop a bipartisan plan.”

Comments

2 Comments

bill11957
Comment posted July 7, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

Please give us the voluntary option to pick an insurance plan from the normal plans “for profit” or public plans “at cost”. As Obama says: “for us to be able to say, here's a public option that's not profit-driven, that can keep down administrative costs, and that provides you good, quality care for a reasonable price as one of the options for you to choose, I think that makes sense. “Why would it drive private insurance out of business? If — if private — if private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care; if they tell us that they're offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That's not logical.” Just one salary from the big insurance CEO could pay for health care for how many people. And what does he do to earn that money? He tells the insured what doctor to see, what procedure to pay for, how much to pay for that procedure and rewards those that deny the most claims. They say they spread the risk but they actually spread the cost and still make huge salaries. That's a lot of profit on the backs of the few they pick to insure. Those that they insure are generally young and healthy and do not usually need the benefits that they pay for. They are “cherry picked” for the low risk of out pay. When these folks get older they are dumped onto the Medicare/Social Security program. Then we all pay anyway. Please give us the option to voluntarily choose between the normal insurance plans and the new “at cost” public plan.


smithdewey
Comment posted July 8, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

Shuster was great! We put a video of the whole exchange up at http://www.healthinsurance.org/blog/2009/07/06/…

We need more journalists — tv and print — to ask the tough questions of these elected representatives that take industry money and then oppose a public plan.


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