Evan Bayh’s wife hauls in millions serving on corporate boards of companies including “nation’s largest health insurance company”

For Evan Bayh, the Senator from Indiana who formed his own Blue Dog caucus in the Senate, health care isn’t just a policy issue, it’s personal. Not personal because of a health issue, but because his wife makes millions by sitting on corporate boards. And, some of those boards would be impacted by the health care reform legislation. Susan Bayh is one busy director:

As the debate over health-care reform intensifies, Bayh’s wife is receiving lucrative payouts from some of the companies that could be most affected by that legislation.

Bayh contends the $2.1 million that his wife, Susan, earned from public health-care companies from 2006 to 2008 represents no conflict of interest. Questions persist, however, for at least two reasons. First, Evan Bayh has been unclear about his positions on many issues related to health-care reform. Second, there’s the timing of Susan Bayh’s rapid rise into corporate governance.

Susan Bayh, who was a midlevel lawyer for the politically active Eli Lilly and Co. while her husband was governor of Indiana, did not serve on the board of a single public health-care company until it was clear her husband was about to ascend to the U.S. Senate. Only one month before Evan Bayh was elected to the Senate in a landslide vote, his wife was appointed to serve on the board of what would become the nation’s largest health insurance company — and arguably the company with the most at stake in the health-care reform debate.

Within a few years, numerous companies recruited her, and she eventually served on the boards of eight companies. At least one of them asked her to reduce the number of boards she served on, apparently because she was spread too thin to be effective.

Adding to speculation about a connection between her board memberships and her husband’s office is Susan Bayh’s unwillingness to discuss the matter, including for this story. She has declined several requests for comment on her corporate interests, making it difficult to tell where those interests end.

What a surprise that Susan Bayh won’t answer questions.

Bayh is going to be one of the biggest obstacles to health care reform in the Senate. As Think Progress told us back in March, one of the reasons Bayh set up the Blue Dog Senate caucus to block Obama’s agenda. It won’t hurt his wife’s business interests either. Funny thing, huh?

Here’s something Evan and Susan Bayh should be proud of: Indiana has fallen into the bottom third of state rankings on health of its citizens. But, Evan and Susan have great health care coverage — and lots and lots of money from the health care industry.

Hat tip to reader Chuck in Indy who sent the link.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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