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Who's behind new health bill sponsors

Strong connection between donations and legislation's supporters

Critics say the state Senate bill that calls for expansion of high-deductible health savings accounts doesn't benefit a lot of the people most in need of coverage: low- and moderate-income families. It does, however, benefit drug and insurance companies, they say.

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The state's biggest health-insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, estimates that there are some 44,000 young Georgians who don't have health insurance, not because they are poor, but because they feel "invincible." Incentivized health savings accounts would enable companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield to better entice consumers to buy their specialized insurance packages.

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All five of the bill's co-sponsors in the state Senate received contributions from drug and insurance companies, according to the State Ethics Commission of Georgia.

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Sen. Greg Goggans, R-Douglas, vice-chairman of the appropriations committee: $11,400 (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pfizer, Merck, Medco, Johnson & Johnson, WellCare, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Avesis)

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Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock: $3,000 (Geico, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Georgia Association of Chain Drug Stores)

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Sen. Ralph Hudgens, R-Comer: $1,000 (Blue Cross Blue Shield)

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Sen. Don Thomas, R-Dalton: $4,000 (Medco, Pfizer, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Merck, and Blue Cross Blue Shield)

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Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta: $1,250 (Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bristol-Meyers Squibb)



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