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Life Health > Health Insurance

Fiorina slams health insurers at GOP debate

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Carly Fiorinaone of the candidates hoping to be the presidential nominee for the Republican party, blasted health insurers and promoted the use of high-risk pools Tuesday during a Republican presidential candidate debate that focused mainly on domestic policy issues.

During the debate, which aired on FOX Business Network, Maria Bartiromo, a moderator, asked Fiorina, “How do we get rid of the regulations choking our businesses?” Bartiromo specifically mentioned the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provision that requires large employers to offer health benefits or pay penalties.

See also: The PPACA employee-counting time sponge

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio did not get questions about PPACA, but they made a point of mentioning, while answering other questions, that they want to repeal PPACA, which they call Obamacare.

Donald Trump, while answering a question about the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, said the TPP text is “5,600 pages long.” “It’s so complex that nobody’s read it,” Trump said. “It’s like Obamacare; nobody ever read it.”

Fiorina used the Bartiromo question about business regulation as a chance to talk about PPACA at some length.

“First,” Fiorina said, “Obamacare has to be repealed, because it’s failing. It’s failing the very people it was intended to help, but, also, it is crony capitalism at its worst. Who helped write this bill? Drug companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies.”

Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, said no one can understand PPACA “except the big companies, the lawyers, the accountants, the lobbyists that they hire to protect their interests.”

The solution is to give states the responsibility to manage a high-risk pool, or insurance arrangement for people with health problems, Fiorina said.

“We need to try the one thing in health insurance we’ve never tried,” Fiorina said. “Health insurance has always been a cozy little game between regulators and health insurance companies. We need to try to free the market.”

Later, Fiorina said, “I’m a cancer survivor, OK? I understand that you can’t have someone who’s battled cancer just become known as a pre-existing condition. I understand that you can’t allow families to go bankrupt if they truly need help. But I also understand that Obamacare isn’t helping anyone… So, let us allow states to manage high-risk pools.”

See also: Help for ‘uninsurables’ mired in political battle, a website created by the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that collects and organizes campaign contribution data, reports that, based on Federal Election Commission (FEC) data available Oct. 16, Fiorina is the only candidate who participated in the major Republican primary debate who had received enough of her contributions from health services and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) for “Health Services/HMOs” contributors to rank as a top 20 source of contributions, when contributors are grouped by industry or interest group affiliation. (Retirees, for example, are grouped together under the heading “Retired.”)

Fiorina had received $28,290 in Health Services/HMO contributions, and Health Services/HMO contributors were her 16th biggest industry source of funding.

It’s possible that some other major Republican candidates had received more cash from Health Services/HMO contributors, but, if that’s the case, the value of Health Services/HMO contributions did not account for a high enough share of those candidates’ contribution totals to rank as a top-20 industry funding source for those candidates.

On the Democratic side, Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, had $50,850 in Health Services/HMO contributions in the Oct. 16 FEC reports. That was enough for Health Services/HMO to rank as O’Malley’s 11th biggest industry or interest group source of funding.

For Fiorina and a number of other major Republican candidates, contributors associated with all kinds of “Insurance” ranked as top-20 industry funding sources.

Fiorina received $34,106 from insurance contributors. That was enough for insurance contributors to rank as her 15th biggest source of funding.

Ben Carson had received $108,993 from insurance contributors, enough to make insurance contributors his ninth biggest source of funding.

In the tables that show the top 20 sources of contributions for Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, insurance contributors rank somewhere from the 13th slot to the 17th slot on each list.

For a table that shows Fiorina’s top 20 sources of industry or interest group contributions, read on, 

Carly Fiorina’s 20 top industry and interest group funding sources

Based on FEC data available Oct. 16

Industry Total
1 Retired $1,242,227
2 Real Estate $161,311
3 Misc Finance $139,245
4 Securities & Investment $131,920
5 Misc Business $121,797
6 Lawyers/Law Firms $114,348
7 Health Professionals $78,557
8 Business Services $72,243
9 Education $70,904
10 General Contractors $61,177
11 Republican/Conservative $59,352
12 Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $40,426
13 Electronics Mfg & Equip $38,495
14 Retail Sales $34,475
15 Insurance $34,106
16 Health Services/HMOs $28,290
17 Oil & Gas $27,902
18 Misc Services $26,873
19 Printing & Publishing $25,817
20 Accountants $22,758
Source: Center for Responsive Politics


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