A dose of reality on the politics of health care

Recently, Congressman Steve Pearce had an excellent column outlining the reasons he opposes the “ObamaCare” health care law. Among other outlets, the article appeared in the Albuquerque Journal.

One letter writer attacked the Rio Grande Foundation and claimed that health insurers and pharmaceutical companies are behind attempts to overturn the law. As I wrote in an unpublished letter, this could not be further from the truth:

Letters to the Editor
Albuquerque Journal

In attacking Rep. Pearce for his opposition to “ObamaCare,” one of your readers attacked the Rio Grande Foundation for providing “misinformation” on the issue. In reality, the reader provided misinformation in stating that pharmaceutical and insurance companies opposed President Obama’s health care program. The truth was and remains exactly the opposite.

According to journalist Tim Carney and the Center for Responsive Politics, Obama’s 2008 campaign raised $1.2 million from the pharmaceutical industry during the 2008 election, the most it had ever given to a candidate, and more than triple its contribution to John McCain.

Even after ObamaCare passed, the health care industry continued to give to Obama. According to a 2011 analysis conducted by the Center For Responsive Politics, Obama had raised $1.6 million from the health sector, more than the $920,000 raised by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

There is anything inherently wrong with accepting contributions from these industries, but it reflects the fact that Congressman Pearce, the Rio Grande Foundation, and other opponents of ObamaCare are acting on principle and have not been “bought off” by a health care sector that has actually embraced the taxpayer-financing of their products (drugs and insurance).

While we may disagree with the health insurance and drug industries on their support for the law, the “reforms” will result in a windfall (at least initially) for the industries as Americans are forced to use or given (at taxpayer expense) their products.