IN THE MAIL: Follow the money to anti-reform legislatorsFollowing the money flowing from health insurance companies to members of Congress who are blocking the passage of health insurance reform is shocking, and I believe it is time we call it as we see it.
By: Flo Holcombe, West Fargo
WEST FARGO — We don’t use or hear the phrase “culture of corruption” any more in regard to Washington.
Because we voted the corrupt out in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
But this same culture of corruption once again has reared its head in an effort to derail much-needed health insurance reform that will provide access to millions of Americans in need of coverage.
The answer, not surprisingly, is money. According to Families USA, profits at 10 of the country’s largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007.
In 2008 alone, the CEOs of the major U.S. insurance companies earned a combined $854.4 million in compensation.
Even in North Dakota, we are not immune from this excess. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota has been fined by the state insurance commissioner for the company’s reporting failures, and top executives at BCBSND make more than $500,000 a year with bonuses.
BCBSND CEO Paul Von Ebers donated $9,166 to political action committees in 2008, according to campaignmoney.com. And all of the PACs, including the American Health Insurance Plans PAC, oppose reform.
In “All The President’s Men,” “Deep Throat” — Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s source — says a simple statement can solve the issue of corruption in the Nixon administration: “Follow the money.” Following the money flowing from health insurance companies to members of Congress who are blocking the passage of health insurance reform is shocking, and I believe it is time we call it as we see it.