Citing a Washington Post article on health care industry cash flowing to lawmakers, Washington Journal guest host Libby Casey asked Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to respond to a Twitter question inquiring how much money he has “taken from the insurance industry.” Barton played coy on the question, saying that he was “sure” he had “received some political action committee donations from the health insurance sector” over 25 years in Congress. Watch it:
Barton’s answer significantly downplays the role that health industry money has played in his political career. According to OpenSecrets, the health care sector has been Barton’s second largest contributor over the years, donating $2,096,021. In the current election cycle, only the energy and natural resources industries have given him more money.
HOST: Piece in the Washington Post today, “industry cash flows to drafters of reform.” Key senator Baucus is a leading recipient and it talks about how there has been a flow of contributions from hospitals, insurers and other medical interest groups hoping to shape the legislation to their advantage. And then one of our listeners writes on Twitter and he asks, “how much money have you taken from the insurance industry?” Sounds like you have not?
BARTON: I’m not saying that over the 25 years I’ve been in the Congress, I haven’t received some political action committee donations from the health insurance sector, I’m sure that I have. What I am saying is, at least in this debate, maybe it’s because I’m a member of the minority and I’m not a member of the Democratic majority with President Obama. Maybe they’re putting all there bets and all their money on the Democratic side. They are in the majority, so I guess that makes some sense. But I think, I think it’s because what people like myself are trying to do is fix the current system, create more options. You know, we want the 15 percent solution. We want to help the people that under the current system are having problems. We don’t want to destroy the system where 80–85 percent of the American people today are very happy and satisfied with their health care.