Insurance industry rises to the rescue of crooked Kevin Cahill

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When a 12-term holder is scared, the insurgent candidate is clearly doing something right.

Sarahana Shrestha. Photo: Twitter.

Such is the case in the June 28 Democratic primary race in which Sarahana Shrestha tries to unseat Assemblyman Kevin Cahill in the Hudson Valley District of New Paltz and Kingston.

Shrestha’s campaign is “a power grab,” an outraged Cahill told the New York Times. According to him, DSA-backed candidates like Shrestha seek to disrupt the status quo in Albany.

“Most of them have just arrived in the last two quarters [yet] I think they should be in charge of the place,” Cahill said of the DSA’s current elected legislators. “And they know they can’t do that unless they take more seats,” he added.

While Cahill is correct in his assessment of the DSA’s path to power, his pay-to-play campaign embodies everything the Socialists are pushing for in their critiques of Albany’s current status quo.

Kevin Cahill’s paid campaign embodies everything the Socialists are pushing for in their criticisms of Albany’s current status quo.

Cahill is chairman of the Assembly’s insurance committee. A review of his campaign materials by The Independent shows that more than a third of the $240,000 paid into Cahill’s coffers came from insurers and private healthcare providers.

In 2018, Cahill voted in favor of the New York Health Act, which creates a single-payer system in the state. However, that vote was only nominal, as Republicans controlled the state Senate, meaning the legislation would almost certainly go nowhere.

Cahill’s current campaign website reaffirms his support for the health law, but his fundraising network suggests he may not be actively pushing for its passage. Are the executive vice president of the Greater NY Hospital Association and the CEO of Montefiore Medical — who both made the maximum donation of $4,700 — contributing to Cahill because he will fight for a single payer?

An assembly source indicates The Independent that in general, the insurance industry regards Cahill as its ally.

In 2018, Cahill defended a cartel of title insurers against efforts to curb marketing practices that maintain their ability to charge the highest rates in the nation. During the pandemic, he helped block legislation that would extend insurers’ premium payments to small businesses.

Although separate from Cahill’s campaign, an outside spending group called Voters of NY Inc. (a telling name) has already distributed more than $80,000 in the owner’s name. The entity’s main backer is Extell, the super-big Manhattan luxury developer that was a reliable source of income for Andrew Cuomo. Extell has injected $250,000 into the counter-insurgency effort, which is also targeting DSA-backed Vanessa Agudelo, who is running in northern Westchester County.

The Mid-Hudson DSA tracks large home donations to Cahill. We will soon know if the 1% money made a difference.

Read also: Wall Street is betting heavily on Grace Lee. But is she out of step with working-class voters in her district?

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