Monday, June 22, 2009

Follow The Money.

The graph above is from the estimable Nate Silver at In it, he models the effect of health insurance industry and HMO lobbying money on senators and its impact on their level of support for a public option in a health care reform package. The more dough, the more likely they'll vote no.

Here's Silver:

As I lamented yesterday, health care is one of those areas where both popular opinion and sound public policy seem to take a backseat to protecting those stakeholders who benefit from the status quo. But can we actually see -- statistically -- the impact of lobbying by the insurance industry on the prospects for health care reform? I believe that the answer is yes.
Some 37 senators are listed by Howard Dean's website as supporting the public option so far: 36 Democrats plus Olympia Snowe. To Dean's list I add Arlen Specter as a 'yes' vote, based on a recent public statement.
I decided to build a model to explain and predict whether a particular senator supports the public option. The variables in the model are as follows:

-- The senator's ideology, as measured by his DW-NOMINATE score;
-- Per capita health care spending in the senator's home state;
-- Lobbying contributions received by the senator from health insurance PACs since 2004.

So who's lined up at the insurance lobby's trough?

Baucus (D-MT) $141,250 (click here for more on Baucus's money trail.)
McConnell (R-KY) $110,750
Nelson (D-NE) $106,123
Kyl (R-AZ) $106,000
Gregg (R-NH) $103,500
Grassley (R-IA) $95,000
Lincoln (D-AR) $91,000
Enzi (R-WY) $87,000
Chambliss (R-GA) $86,750
Ensign (R-NV) $85,750

Not surprisingly, all ten--including the three Democrats on the list--oppose a public option.

Meanwhile, can Democrats get it together in time to get something meaningful done?

BeltwayBlips: vote it up!

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