Senate

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently rolled out his official Medicare for All bill that would establish a single-payer healthcare system in the U.S., and with the support of more than a dozen of his Senate colleagues.

However, 33 of his fellow Senate Democrats (including one independent who caucuses with Democrats) are not yet on board as co-sponsors of the legislation. In order to even have a chance of even getting a filibuster-proof floor vote (invoking cloture) under the Senate’s strict rules, the bill needs 60 votes, meaning the legislation is essentially dead-on-arrival even if all Senate Democrats (and even a few Republicans) supported it.

Still, there is widespread support for Medicare for All among Americans in numerous polls. A Reuters poll in August of 2018 found that 70% of Americans were in support of the idea, including nearly 52% of Republicans. More recently, a January Harvard-Harris poll found that 68% of Americans believed that creating “a taxpayer-funded national [health] plan, like Medicare for All” should be a top priority for the 116th Congress.

Sanders’ latest legislation is even more ambitious than other 2020 candidates’ healthcare proposals. In Sanders’ bill, the for-profit private health insurance industry would be eliminated and replaced with a government-funded national single-payer healthcare plan. Medicare for All would fully cover all primary care, hospital stays, and prescription drugs for every single American. While taxes will increase slightly to pay for the plan, the vast majority of Americans would see a cost savings. Currently, employer-sponsored family plans eat up almost a third of Americans’ household income, on average.

The strong support for universal healthcare among both Democrats and Republicans is a stark contrast to that of Senate Democrats. As Grit Post reported last year in reference to Sanders’ previous Medicare for All bill, more Republican voters as a percentage supported Medicare for All than Senate Democrats. In October of 2018, there were 17 Democratic co-sponsors on the bill out of the 49 Democrats who were in the Senate at the time, meaning less than 35% of Senators affiliated with the Democratic Party supported a proposal that 84% of Democrats and a slim majority of Republicans supported.

Sanders just introduced his bill last week, meaning some of the Democrats who have yet to co-sponsor the legislation may end up doing so in the future. However, the pharmaceutical and for-profit health insurance industries that donate to federal campaigns stand to lose out on significant profits if Sanders’ Medicare for All plan comes to fruition, meaning their campaign spending in the 2020 cycle may be just as, if not more aggressive. According to the latest campaign finance data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, these 33 Democrats have received a total of $36,805,381 from those industries throughout the course of their careers.

In order to come up with these donation amounts, Grit Post analyzed contributions from the pharmaceuticals/health products and insurance industries for each senator as shown on OpenSecrets.org. In the event an industry didn’t make a senator’s top 20 industries in donation totals, we expanded the field to 100, and totaled amounts from each individual two-year election cycle. We also included notations for the pharma or insurance industries ranking as a top five industry for any senator.

Type ctrl+f (or command+f on Mac) and type your senator’s name to see if they made this list.

1. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)

$1,140,807 since 2009

2. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

$1,721,842 since 1991

3. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)

$935,453 since 1991

4. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland)

$1,610,607 since 1989

5. Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware)

$1,778,508 since 1989

Insurance is #2 donor

Pharma is #5 donor

6. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania)

$2,172,154 since 2005

7. Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware)

$562,337 since 2009

8. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada)

$150,547 since 2015

9. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois)

$489,015 since 2005

10. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)

$1,483,211 since 1989

11. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California)

$1,081,412 since 1991

12. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire)

$153,075 since 2013

13. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico)

$600,554 since 2007

14. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama)

$322,489 since 2017

15. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia)

$832,083 since 2011

16. Senator Angus King (I-Maine)*

$275,788 since 2011

*caucuses with Democrats

17. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)

$807,382 since 2005

18. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia)

$876,593 since 2009

19. Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)

$2,093,128 since 1991

20. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut)

$1,342,191 since 2005

21. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington)

$1,638,853 since 1991

22. Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan)

$1,099,886 since 2007

23. Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)

$1,052,077 since 1989

Insurance is #4 donor

24. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada)

$286,830 since 2015

25. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

$3,086,611 since 1989

Insurance is #4 donor

26. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire)

$654,671 since 2001

27. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona)

$960,470 since 2011

28. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota)

$192,905 since 2017

29. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)

$1,885,120 since 1995

30. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana)

$1,290,498 since 2005

31. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)

$910,082 since 2001

32. Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia)

$1,448,831 since 1995

33. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)

$1,869,371 since 1989

 

Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

Comments

  1. Thanks to Gritpost for publishing this list. American voters need to know this. THESE PEOPLE ARE CORRUPT. They are so ready to take all of this money from Big Pharma so that we can continue to have THE MOST EXPENSIVE HEALTHCARE IN THE WORLD AND SO WE CAN BE THE ONLY MAJOR COUNTRY TO HAVE FOR PROFIT HEALTHCARE I cannot deal with cold hearted and greedy people. I have seen way too many people that I care for who have suffered unnecessarily because they could not afford healthcare. The might say “Anybody can go to the emergency room.” Get real and get informed.Millions of people do not have access to the care that they need and an average of 45,000 PEOPLE DIE each year because they do not have healthcare.

    1. Feinstein has been one of the nastiest, most negative anti the public senators for as long as I can remember hearing her name.

  2. Wow this deserves FULL EXPOSURE! America is being duped by the party that normally supported Medicare.
    How can this happen?? We aren’t gonna lay down and give votes away if they can’t tell us the truth?

  3. Wow this deserves FULL EXPOSURE! America is being duped by the party that normally supported Medicare.
    How can this happen?? We aren’t gonna lay down and give votes away if they can’t tell us the truth?

  4. Wow this deserves FULL EXPOSURE! America is being duped by the party that normally supported Medicare.
    How can this happen?? We aren’t gonna lay down and give votes away if they can’t tell us the truth?

  5. It is reprehensible of these Democrats, but we do need to recall that virtually all of them are neoliberal corporatists who reside, right of center, in the space vacated by moderate Republicans who moved further right in search of increased oligarchic campaign funding.
    So, the big mistake is in thinking that the Democratic Party is still the party of the people. There is no ‘party of the people’ any longer, at least not of sufficient size yet to challenge the two major parties. Democratic voters are remembering a different era and so are expecting the Democrats they vote for to be voting for their interests. However, all they really care about is either getting reelected or, if leaving Congress (or the presidency) going to an even more lucrative job.
    What would really interest me is seeing a list of Republicans who do support universal healthcare. after all, on most issues, the infighting is all show designed to mask how the oligarchs – who own almost every member of Congress (so are the true rulers of this country) – are stealing more of our freedoms, our country and the world every day.
    As George Carlin said over a decade ago, if you think that the politicians in Washington d.C. are there to promote your interests or welfare, you are sadly mistaken. Regardless of political party, they are all members of a big club – and you and I are not in the big club. They just don’t care about you (George’s vulgarity intentionally omitted).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *