As has been noted numerous times in The Turner Report, insurance interests have sunk a lot of money into the speaker's campaign account, and have been richly rewarded for their efforts. During the 2009 legislative session, RIchard put a stop to efforts to provide insurance help for families dealing with autism. He explained it in an op-ed column in August:
I will not abandon my standards for popularity. I seek principled, pragmatic solutions and consensus. Unfortunately, last session we were unable to bring everyone together in agreement on Senate Bill 167. Designed to assist families affected by autism, this legislation would have impacted small businesses as well as taxpayers and Missourians with private health insurance. As House speaker, it is my job to be sure we have a strong consensus. My committee will help us build that consensus so that we may move forward to pass a bill that benefits families who suffer from autism.
This emotionally charged issue deserves our full attention and I implore all of our state leaders to use their power and resources to work for a real solution. I am urging the governor to leave politics out of this sensitive issue and directly engage with House leadership.
Nowhere in his column did the speaker note the big contributions he has received from the insurance interests. Those were noted in the July 20 Turner Report:
June 2 was a big day for Speaker of the House Ron Richard, R-Joplin.
On that day, insurance interests delivered $13,150 in contributions to the most powerful man in Missouri's campaign committee. Richard's quarterly report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows he received the following contributions:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield $2,500
Liberty Mutual $2,500
Missouri Insurance Coalition $2,500
FEAPAC of Missouri $3,000
Missouri State Farm PAC $650
American Insurance Association $500
Shelter Insurance $500
General Anerican Associates $500
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies $500
Since the amount is far more than what the insurance companies have put into his account earlier this year or in 2008, it appears they are gearing up for a big year in 2010.