TX-Gov: Hutchison's Health Care “Plan” Reflects the $1.4 Million She's Taken from Special Interests

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Key Point: Senator Hutchison has taken $1.4 million from health care special interests — which may explain why she is proposing a health care plan to protect insurance companies and let them continue to deny Texans health care coverage based on preexisting conditions.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, we learned last week that Senator Hutchison has taken $1.4 million from health care special interests. From their story:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas: $1.4 million. Since 2005, the top five industries that have donated to Hutchison have been lawyers, retirees, oil and gas, miscellaneous finance and real estate. Her donations include those from self-employed doctors, healthcare managers, even the president of the Baylor Health Care System.

That amount of health care special interest money is staggering — especially when you look at Senator Hutchison's op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman today titled, “Another Model for Health Care Reform.” Her plan protects private insurance companies by allowing them to continue to deny Texans health care coverage when they get sick or if they have preexisting conditions.

In fact, her plan is almost identical to President Obama's health care plan — with the obvious exception that she's not going to stop insurance companies from denying Texans their health care coverage based on preexisting conditions. The only reason Republicans oppose any sort of government involvement in the health care system is that then the big insurance companies they all take their checks from would no longer be able to deny Texans their health care coverage.

Take a look at the two plans side by side on three simple ideas:

Health Exchanges

Obama: “We'll do this by creating a new insurance exchange — a marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance at competitive prices.” (Source)

Hutchison:
“The health exchange places all the decision-making power into the hands of the consumer. A state-level health exchange would allow consumers to compare plans at a single shopping point.” (Source)

  • Portable Health Insurance

Obama:If you lose your job or you change your job, you'll be able to get coverage.  If you strike out on your own and start a small business, you'll be able to get coverage.” (Source)

Hutchison: “A health exchange would streamline coverage for families with both spouses employed by allowing contributions from multiple employers to be pooled…It could eliminate gaps in care because plan benefits are portable from job to job.” (Source)

  • Choice Lowers Cost

Obama: “Insurance companies will have an incentive to participate in this exchange because it lets them compete for millions of new customers.  As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage.” (Source)

Hutchison: “As consumers are given the opportunity to make informed choices, competition will increase, which results in lower consumer cost and simplified offerings.” (Source)

Senator Hutchison is proposing the same health care plan as Democrats, only it is more expensive because it would do nothing to stop insurance companies from denying Americans coverage due to preexisting conditions.

President Obama's health care plan ends preexisting conditions:

Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a preexisting condition.  As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it the most.  They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. 

Senator Hutchison doesn't care if insurance companies deny Texans their health care coverage if they get sick. That's the reason her plan is different than President Obama's — and the reason why Texans should roundly reject her proposal as nothing more than a cowardly duck-and-cover from a Senator that has taken $1.4 million from health care special interests.

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About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

14 Comments

  1. Complete the Logical flow
    With all the effort involved in documenting corruption and the influence of special interests, it would be a valuable service to bring your audience to the logic of supporting the reform groups that focus on remedies.  Common Cause, Public Citizen and others are dedicated to advancing publicly funded campaigns and similar policies to neutralize special interests.   eg the Common Cause of Texas Facebook Group and Fan pages.

    Fuming about it is useless.

    • Wow, a number of things to say to that
      1) Putting the day's news and headlines into context isn't useless.

      2) I don't think any of the groups you mentioned are going to “complete the logical flow” and actively help defeat Republicans, are they?

      3) If you want an example of us supporting reform groups, just look at Matt's diary today about Equality Texas.

      4) BOR regularly promotes diaries from Public Citizen and others, when they write them on our site. If something isn't being covered, then it's up to our community to write about it.

      5) The Common Cause of Texas doesn't even list its Facebook group on its own website; asking us to do so when the group can't do it itself seems odd.

      All those points aside, I'm happy to link to the Common Cause Facebook page (which you neglected to do):

      Common Cause on Facebook

  2. Check out the health care Senator Hutchison
    and her colleagues in Congress gets.  If this is good enough for them, it should be good enough for us, at an affordable price.  A public option would ensure this.

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCa

    Now, as a taxpayer who pays for KBH, John Cornyn and John Culberson's health benefits I would like to know why their constituents don't deserve what they have.  After all, all three of my “representatives” in the U.S. Congress are opposed to health care reform and they are dead set against a public option.

    • The Grassley Amendment
      will make Congress get its health care from the reform exchange.  Passed the committee unanimously.  No wonder . . .   they have their emergency back-up plan down stairs.  By the way is the clinic downstairs only available to Republicans?

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