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( Steve )

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The High Cost of Health Care (Part 4)

When I lived in the midwest, I had a good buddy in the state legislature who used to brag to me about the scores of insurance companies and dozens of insurance industry groups who hosted regular breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktail hours for legislators.

If you were a legislator, you could attend as many insurance industry events as you had time for and expect to receive, each and every time, an "honorarium" or "speaking fee."

(All you had to say for your speaking fee was something along the lines of, "Hi, gentlemen, we're working hard to get that 'tort reform' bill out of committee [or whatever they wanted at the time] but the Democrats keep blocking us, so we appreciate all the support you can give us!" )

BY LAW, this "honorarium" was NOT a campaign contribution, and it was NOT income for state or federal tax purposes. After they passed "campaign finance 'reform'" there was a reporting limit which kicked-in at $500, so the horaria all became $499, but you could still get as many as you had time to pick up.

This is why the insurance industry OWNS every state legislature, as far as I know.

The next time you have a Republican congressman on your show, you need to ask him point-blank exactly what his exerience with / knowledge of insurance industry "honoraria" has been throughout his ENTIRE career. This is why they want to divert health insurance reform to the states if they can't kill it in Washington.

August 6, 2009 at 10:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )