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Legislating Under the Influence: Members of Congress and the Health Care Industry.

As Congress begins to hash out the nuts and bolts of health care reform, the government watchdog group Common Cause explores the connection between health care special interests and members of Congress.

The findings, which include the revelation that health care interests have donated nearly $373 million dollars to members of Congress since 2000 were detailed in a report released yesterday.

Some of Minnesota’s legislators are among those with large financial ties to the health care industry.

The report found that congressman Kline received $252,050 from the health care industry since 2000. As the ranking Republican of the House Education and Labor Committee, congressman Kline will be in a key position to influence health care legislation.

In 2009 alone, members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation have received $73,500 from the industry.

Here’s a breakdown:

Rep. Michele Bachmann: $18,250

Rep. Keith Ellison: $6,250

Rep. John Kline; $2,250

Sen. Amly Klobuchar: $11,000

Rep. Betty McCollum: $13,550

Rep. James Oberstar: $1,000

Rep. Erik Paulsen: $6,500

Rep. Collin Peterson: $2,000

Rep. Timothy Walz: $12,700

A recent New York Times poll found that three out of four Americans support a public health insurance option, and it’s crucial that your members of Conress hear from you. But, as in the case of Rep. Kline, the health care industry has spent years bankrolling the campaigns of those who are in charge of making health reform happen.

Call your Members of Congress and tell them you support efforts to win quality, affordable health care for all!

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