A bipartisan group of six "moderate" US senators, dubbed the "Gang of Six" by news agencies, issued a demand July 17 for a slowdown on Democratic health care reform. These senators - including three conservative Democrats, one conservative Independent who caucuses with Democrats, and two moderate Republicans - asked for a slowdown on health care reform not because their constituents wished it so: recent polls show that a clear majority of Americans want health care reform now including a public health care option such as that proposed by President Obama and progressives in Congress. No, these senators asked for a slowdown on health care reform because the for-profit health, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries have bid them to do so in the hope that reform can be stopped, and because these same industries have generously provided them with career campaign contributions totalling more than $11 million.
These six senators - whom I'll call the "Gang of Sickos" in honor of Michael Moore's film on America's health care crisis similarly titled - are Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Ron Wyden of Oregon; Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; and Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine (Paul Krugman calls them "the six deadly hypocrites"). Their career total and average daily contributions from the health, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries are summarized by Paul Blumenthal at the Huffington Post based on figures from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).
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