We have mentioned the fight the Business Council of Alabama is waging against legislation about insurance coverage for certain therapies for autistic children here and here. And our friend John Archibald at AL.com commented on this situation in his own special way.
Again this seems another classic David vs. Goliath confrontation. On the one hand is Billy Canary, head of BCA, toting water for heath insurance (which in Alabama means Blue Cross/Blue Shield) and on the other parents of autistic children saddled with the extremely high costs of certain treatments.
Canary has referred to the legislation as a “healthcare tax,” which did not go down very well with Rep. Jim Patterson, sponsor of the bill (HB 284). He has also conjured up visions of Obamacare in hopes of getting legislators to replace reason with emotion.
But then, if I were trying to protect the interests of Blue Cross/Blue Shield I might do the same thing. After all, it’s a real challenge to invoke sympathy for a company where nearly three years ago the top ten executives were all making more than one million dollars a year.
However, never forget that Canary did not enter this fray unarmed. Not hardly. He has the backing of one of the state’s largest political action committees. Records from the Secretary of State’s website show the BCA political arm (Progress PAC) spent at least $2.4 million in the 2014 election cycle to get candidates elected.
A number of whom are on the House Insurance Committee where HB 284 is currently awaiting action. There are nine Republicans and three Democrats on the committee. Only one Democrat got BCA money in their last campaign. Anthony Daniels received $1,000. Eight Republicans split $129,500. (Republican Jimmy Martin got no BCA funding.)
Here is the breakdown:
Kerry Rich, chair–$16,000
David Faulkner, vice chair–$1,000
Jack D. Williams–$48,000
The other two Democratic members besides Daniels, are Chris England and Louise Alexander. Neither received Progress PAC funds.
Editor’s note: Rep. Patterson received $14,500 from BCA for his 2014 campaign.