Mike Enzi: GOP Gang Of Six Senator's Ties To Insurance Industry
Max Baucus isn't the only senator who may be taking his health care cues from insurance companies. WellPoint Inc., recently revealed to have influenced Baucus's health care framework, also has notable ties to Gang of Six Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).
Enzi's former health policy director between 2003 to 2006, Stephen J. Northrup, is now a registered lobbyist for WellPoint, a subsidiary of insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Northrup, who has represented numerous health insurance and pharmaceutical companies in the past, is currently "responsible for leading WellPoint's advocacy efforts before Congress and various federal government agencies," according to the journal Modern Healthcare.
That's not all. Blue Cross Blue Shield is currently Enzi's biggest contributor, according to the Center For Responsive Politics, having provided the Republican senator a total of $38,500 in campaign cash this election cycle. Overall, Enzi has accepted $793,711 from various health care industries since 2005.
Enzi, whose Gang of Six may decide the fate of health care reform, is the only senator to sit on all three committees tasked with drafting the the health care bill -- the Finance Committee, Budget Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) Committee.
While Enzi has advocated for a "bipartisan" solution to health care reform, he has shown more interest in opposing the whole effort. At a town hall in late August, Enzi admitted to obstructing the legislation and has since predicted it will fail.
Senior White House officials have criticized Enzi for his role in trying to defeat the health care legislation, suggesting they may be willing to forgo his support -- and bipartisanship in general -- to pass a bill.
But it remains unclear how President Obama will proceed as he said in Wednesday's prime-time speech that he remains committed to working with Republicans to formulate a bipartisan bill, despite accusing them of promulgating "misinformation" and "lies".