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Unhealthy Relationship

John Ashcroft gets a shot in the arm from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, as well as other lobbying groups opposed to a true Patients' Bill of Rights

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Money

The insurance industry, the Business Roundtable and the Health Benefits Coalition lobbied against the Norwood-Dingell Patients' Bill of Rights, which would have allowed consumers to sue in state courts when treatment was delayed or denied. The pharmaceutical industry lobbied against a prescription-drug benefit for all Medicare beneficiaries. All four groups contributed heavily to Sen. John Ashcroft.

1994-98 Election Cycle

Insurance industry: $247,020

Business Roundtable: $614,750

Pharmaceutical industry: $66,549

2000 Election Cycle (to June 1)

Insurance industry: $67,500

Health Benefits Coalition: $52,500

Business Roundtable: $377,500

Pharmaceutical industry: $31,500

Sources: Federal Elections Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.

Votes

Patients' Bill of Rights

Oct. 9, 1998: Ashcroft votes to table an AMA-backed Patients' Bill of Rights that would allow consumers with private health insurance to sue managed-care companies for delayed or denied care.

July 15, 1999: Ashcroft votes in favor of a business-backed version of the Patients' Bill of Rights that would not allow consumers to sue managed-care companies for delayed or denied care.

June 8: Ashcroft again votes to table a proposal to attach the AMA-backed measure to a spending bill.

June 29: Ashcroft votes in favor of amending a spending bill with the business-backed version of the Patients' Bill of Rights.

Prescription-Drug Benefit

March 25, 1999: Ashcroft votes to table a proposal to create a reserve fund for a prescription-drug benefit for all Medicare recipients.

July 29, 1999: Ashcroft votes against a second attempt to create a reserve fund for a Medicare drug benefit.

April 5: Ashcroft votes against a proposal requiring the Senate to debate a Medicare drug benefit before cutting taxes.

June 22: Ashcroft votes against a measure creating a prescription-drug benefit for all Medicare recipients.

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