Richard Nixon began as the “health insurance company candidate.” In 1946, the Republican Party successfully took the US House with a well funded campaign against “socialized” medicine.
During the war, wage and price controls made insurance benefits about the only way reward employees. The practice became so very profitable for insurance companies that insurance interests engineered a plan to preserve it.
Insurance companies, weapon manufacturers, and financial manipulators all have prior history in funding the Republican Party. Charles H. Ray, a practicing physician (turned newspaper editor) worked with Lincoln to build the coalition to provoke war over slavery. Insurance companies wished the federal government to fund life insurance policies for soldiers. (They did.) The gun manufacturers wished to sell lots of arms. (They did.) Lastly, financial manipulators wished inside information. (90% of financial panics begin under Republican leadership.) It is known that Lincoln made the bulk of his fortune in financial manipulation such as speculation in land. As a railroad lawyer, Lincoln knew where the railroads would be built. Ray was an investor in these syndicates.
Specific financial misdeeds are becoming known. This is most damning for Republican insiders. Many hundreds of millions of dollars are now being spent to get ahead of it. Regardless, the association of health insurance companies with the Republican Party is extremely strong.
- In 1989, the DOJ under President George H.W. Bush sided with health insurance companies in a class action lawsuit from physicians and providers before it even went to trial. This act granted de facto exemption from federal anti trust laws to the health insurance industry.
- Hillary Clinton’s touted “health care plan” involved larger health insurance companies dividing the country into five zones. Each insurer controlling a zone would be responsible to cover care for the non-insured, as well. In the end, Mrs. Clinton got stiffed …right before the 1994 elections.
- The smaller health insurers contributed 20 million to Newt Gingrich’s GO PAC. Although it was (at the time) illegal, Gingrich funneled these funds into supporting Republican house candidates. The Republicans took the house in 1994.
- Legislation providing for Medicare Part D passed both houses of congress with the stipulation that insurance companies and Medicare would equally split the up to 50% rebates from drug manufacturers. What came out of the Republican controlled conference committee allowed the insurance companies to keep all drug rebates. In 2006, President George Bush signed this into law, adding trillions to the costs of the plan.
- The Affordable Care Act was passed in congress on a strictly partisan basis. The health insurance industry was unanimously opposed to this bill and contributed heavily to Republicans to oppose it. The Trump administration has taken the fight to overturn ACA and it’s protections for preexisting conditions to the courts. Packing the courts with judges sympathetic to Republican donors now seems to have been a good idea.
As death to a democracy usually comes from thousands of cuts, there surely must be many more examples. These will be added as they become documented.