For months, Democrats have been complaining that Republican leaders drafting healthcare reforms are too beholden to managed-care companies. Now, an analysis of political action committee contributions by HMOs helps show why Democrats are concerned.
After giving 56% of their contributions to Democratic candidates during the 1993-1994 election cycle, managed-care PACs are moving overwhelmingly to the GOP. For the first six months of 1995, HMOs funneled nearly 75% of their money to Republicans, according to a study released recently by the consumer group Public Citizen, which supports a single-payer healthcare system.
"The stakes for these companies are enormous," said Michael Calabrese, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch. "The House Medicare plan projects a doubling of Medicare enrollment in HMOs over seven years. Assuming no change in the federal rate of payment to HMOs, such an increase in enrollment translates into $85 billion in potential business in Medicare alone over the next seven years."
The rate of PAC contributions by HMOs also is on the rise. Twelve of the 20 largest HMOs made contributions during the first six months of 1995 totalling more than $241,000. That pace is ahead of the comparable period during the 1993-1994 election cycle. Total contributions during the 1993-1994 two-year period were $938,000.
HMOs cozy up to Republicans
PAC donations from several of the largest HMOs during the 1993-1994 election cycle and the first six months of this year.
Percent Percent Total Percent Percent
Company 1995* Democrats GOP 1993-1994 Democrats GOP
Aetna $28,000 20 80 $125,000 57 43
Cigna 63,250 12 88 211,600 60 40
FHP 11,315 4 96 78,150 69 31
Prudential 71,000 32 68 217,350 70 30
Sanus 21,600 38 62 79,100 66 34
*First six months
Source: Public Citize