Health Law & Business News

Blue Cross Suspends Donations to Lawmakers Who Opposed Biden Win (2)

Jan. 10, 2021, 7:21 PM; Updated: Jan. 11, 2021, 11:05 PM

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said it will suspend contributions to lawmakers who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win.

“In light of this week’s violent, shocking assault on the United States Capitol, and the votes of some members of Congress to subvert the results of November’s election by challenging Electoral College results, BCBSA will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy,” BCBSA CEO and President Kim Keck said in a statement issued Friday.

The decision highlights the escalating conflict between businesses and Republicans who dispute the November presidential election results. The association represents 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans throughout the U.S. that provide health insurance for “one in three Americans.”

The BCBSA didn’t immediately respond to a request for information on how much it contributes to the Republicans who voted against certifying the electoral results.

But the association said the contributions are made through the BCBSA political action committee, which is supported solely by employee contributions.

“While a contrast of ideas, ideological differences and partisanship are all part of our politics, weakening our political system and eroding public confidence in it must never be,” Keck said in the statement.

Several other health-care companies and industry groups indicated they are rethinking their political contributions. “We cannot condemn those actions more strongly,” America’s Health Insurance President and CEO Matt Eyles said in a statement.

“Our nation, the laws of our land, and the safety of our citizens and the political leaders who serve them, are paramount. These priorities will be front and center as we immediately review our policies governing political giving,” he said.

Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, said, “As of today BIO will be pausing our political giving so we can reassess the criteria upon which we support political candidates in the future.”

“It is very concerning that some elected leaders last week chose to ignore facts and embrace widely discredited conspiracies which in part led to the horrific events at the Capitol. Our members take this seriously and so do we,” McMurry-Heath said.

Eric Hausman, spokesman for UnitedHealth Group, said,“We have decided to pause and review our federal PAC campaign contributions to ensure that they continue to align with our company’s values.”

Aetna’s future PAC giving is also under review based on the events of the past few weeks, spokesperson T.J. Crawford said in an email.

Health insurer Centene Corp. “looks at many factors prior to contributing to any member or group and this will be one of those factors we will take into consideration,” Marcela Hawn, spokeswoman for the company, said in an email.

(Updates story first published Jan. 10 to include comment from Aetna in next-to-last paragraph. Previous update included reaction from AHIP, BIO, UnitedHealth, and Centene.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Hansard in Washington at shansard@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

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