When former Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer faced a populist, progressive rival in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary earlier this year, she had a little help from her health insurance industry friends.

Whitmer was hosted at a fundraiser thrown by lobbyists for Blue Cross Blue Shield. She netted $144,000 during a single day at the event.

The company’s interest in the race came as no surprise, as Whitmer’s chief rival, former Detroit public health chief Abdul El-Sayed, was campaigning on establishing a statewide single-payer health care system. Essentially, he was running to put the company out of business…

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