The “Patients Over Profits” Pledge calls on politicians to reject campaign contributions from the executives, lobbyists, and PACs affiliated with the corporate health care industry, including private insurers, pharma corporations, and private hospitals who are organizing to take over our health care system. The pledge is supported by a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to working on health care justice.
These corporations use their billions in profits to unduly influence politicians and candidates running for office in order to prevent any significant health care reforms from progressing. Our organizations want to heal the root cause of the disease, and are urging our elected officials and those seeking office to cut ties with these organizations and corporations that bankroll these attacks on real health care reform.
Politicians and candidates of all levels are welcome and encouraged to sign the “Patients Over Profits” Pledge, provided they agree to the requirements and complete the steps for signing outlined below. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The language of the Patients Over Profits Pledge is as follows:
“CEOs and lobbyists for Big Pharma, corporate insurers, and private hospitals have formed a front group called Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future that wants to exploit our healthcare system to make money off of keeping us sick.
I pledge to put patients over profits and not take contributions over $200 from the executives, lobbyists, and PACs affiliated with the corporate health care industry, including private insurers, pharma corporations, and private hospitals who are organizing to take over our health care system.”
By taking this pledge, the candidate or elected official agrees that they will not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the executives, lobbyists, or PACs affiliated with the hospital, insurance, and pharma corporations that have chosen to bankroll an effort to halt any attempts at health care reform. These corporations, which directly profit off of the pain, suffering, and, in the worst cases, death of patients, use those same profits to purchase political influence in an attempt to defend a wasteful system that is failing tens of millions of people. This pledge does not apply to rank-and-file workers who are employed by these corporations.
Why should a candidate or elected official take the Patients Over Profits Pledge?
The corporate health care industry seeks to block any attempts at reforming our broken system through a variety of means, including political donations, as well as by forming shadowy front groups like the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future. Taking this pledge demonstrates that a politician stands for the well-being of their constituents, not for corporations that profit off of our illness and pain. The pledge signifies a public acknowledgment that we have a health care crisis in our country, and that corporate interests are directly responsible for blocking attempts to respond to this crisis by using their political power and influence to oppose any kind of health care reform – including efforts to rein in exorbitant prescription drug prices, to stop abusive surprise billing practices, and to finally solve our broken health care system through Medicare for All.
We urge politicians to sever their ties to these industries and corporations that interfere with patients receiving high-quality care based on what they need, and not on what they can afford. Refusing contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical corporations frees a politician to take bolder and substantive action on health care, free from strings attached to the worst actors in the corporate health care industry.
What does it mean to take the Patients Over Profits pledge?
Taking the pledge means that a politician will adopt a policy, both for their campaigns and while holding elected office, to not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the executives, lobbyists, and PACs affiliated with the corporate health care industry, including private insurers, pharma corporations, and private hospitals who are organizing to take over our health care system. The pledge does not apply to rank-and-file workers who are employed by these corporations The pledge is forward-looking, which means it applies from the moment a politician takes the pledge onward but does not apply retroactively to past contributions. The commitment begins the moment a politician takes the pledge.
How does a politician sign the Patients Over Profits pledge?
In order to sign the pledge, a politician or their staff should ensure that they understand what they are signing, fill out the webform, and provide verification that they have signed and completed the webform. This verification can come in the form of a photo or scan of a signed copy of the pledge, a photo or video of them signing the pledge, or a virtual commitment (webpage, blog post/press release, graphic, etc.), either sent directly to email@example.com or posted online on a campaign account.
What should a signer do if they receive a prohibited contribution?
We understand that sometimes donations are made without the knowledge or explicit approval of the politician or staff, particularly during election campaigns. Thus, if a signer receives a contribution which breaks the terms of the pledge, the elected official and their staff should act within a reasonable timeframe to address the contribution. The preferred action is for the campaign to return the funds that were received.
What is the process for resolving a potential violation of the pledge?
If a politician signs the pledge, they are expected to abide by it fully and to notify the Patients Over Profits Campaign they have any questions about specific contributions. You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the Patients Over Profits Campaign is notified that a pledge signer is thought to have violated the terms of the pledge, we will investigate and confirm whether the contribution in question violated the pledge. If a violation has occurred, the Patients Over Profits Campaign will notify the signer and give them one week to return the contribution(s) in question, as noted above. If the politician returns the contribution, they will remain on as a signer of the pledge. If not, they will be removed from the list of pledge signers. The violation of the pledge by that politician will be documented and addressed publicly through social media and/or the press.
Are there any exceptions to the Patients Over Profits pledge?
There are no exceptions — if a politician or candidate takes the pledge, they are expected to comply with it. The pledge is intentionally designed to not apply to the large majority of rank-and-file employees because most of these workers do not have decision-making power or influence over the problems the pledge was designed to address.
The Patients Over Profits Campaign strongly opposes the overwhelming influence of insurance and pharmaceutical industry corporate PACs, executives, and lobbyists on our political system, and we hope that all politicians will join us in committing to stand with patients and communities, not corporate healthcare profiteers.