Insurance companies and shadow groups represented by Missouri Insurance Coalition lobbyist Harry Gallagher have pumped more than $20,000 into Mrs. Cunningham's campaign treasury since July 2008, including four $1,000 contributions on Sept. 16, just five days before Mrs. Cunningham announced that she would introduce the legislation.
Missouri Ethics Commission records show David Smith, Blue Cross, Blue Shield; Stephen Bledsoe, Blue Corss, Blue Shield; Calvin Call, a Missouri Insurance Coalition lobbyist, and Steve Fry, Farmer Insurance, each dropped $1,000 into Cunningham Campaign Committee on Sept. 16.
Five days later, she issued the following news release:
Senator Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, is announcing that she will introduce legislation during the 2010 session of the General Assembly designed to protect health care freedom of choice for Missourians.
Senator Cunningham and Representative Tim Jones, R-Eureka, plan to introduce legislation accompanied with a proposed state constitutional amendment that could protect Missourians from federal health care mandates and guarantee they can choose their own health care and insurance options. The proposed legislation would also protect small business owners from fines for declining to participate in government health care mandates.
Senator Cunningham’s proposals would add Missouri to a list of dozens of states calling for legislation or state constitutional amendments to guard citizens against attempts to socialize health care through the “public option” health care mandate currently under consideration by Congress. Arizona already has such a measure on its 2010 ballot.
“If this measure is passed by the Legislature, Missouri voters would have an opportunity to decide if they want to send a message to Washington that participation in an insurance plan is a personal decision and a right which should not be infringed upon,” Sen. Cunningham said.