So Democratic and Republican lawmakers are in negotiations to get a compromise state budget finished, and today’s MSJ is reporting that the eight legislative leaders working on finding a compromise state budget have pocketed $617,000 for themselves from special-interest groups and individuals in the first half of the year. What’s interesting is that of that $617,000, about $100,000 came from health care professionals, hospital executives, their statewide organizations and health care lobbyists. Now $100,000 is a lot of money, and it’s worth noting that among the hottest topics of debate and discussion among lawmakers has been the universal health care proposal offered up by Senate Democrats and vehemently opposed by Republicans. According to the article in the MJS, State Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, the chief budget negotiator for Republicans who control the Assembly, received about $10,500 – or just over 20% of the $49,596 his personal campaign fund raised between January and June – from doctors, other medical professionals and groups with a stake in the health care debate.
And of course, when asked about the large percentage of his campaign donations that came from folks associated with the health care industry, Huebsch said he didn’t know why those medical professionals gave that much to his campaign. Now maybe I’m crazy, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on here. After all, why would Republicans dare support universal health care when that support might mean the end of the money train from the special interests in the health care industry?