Industry Groups, Lobbying Firms Gain From Health Overhaul
The Associated Press reports that under the new health care law, "pharmaceutical lobbyists won new federal policies they coveted and set a trajectory for long-term industry growth." Ramsey Baghdadi, a Washington health policy analyst, "projects a $30 billion, 10-year net gain for the industry. 'I don't see how they could have done much better,'" he said.
The AP cautions: "To be sure, the law also levies taxes and imposes other costs on pharmaceutical companies, leaving its final impact on the industry's bottom line uncertain."
"Costly brand-name biotech drugs won 12 years of protection against cheaper generic competitors, a boon for products that comprise 15 percent of pharmaceutical sales. The industry will have to provide 50 percent discounts beginning next year to Medicare beneficiaries in the 'doughnut hole' gap in pharmaceutical coverage, but those price cuts plus gradually rising federal subsidies will mean more elderly people will purchase more drugs" (Fram, 3/29).
NPR and the The Center for Public Integrity: "About 1,750 businesses and organizations spent at least $1.2 billion in 2009 on lobbying teams to work on the health care overhaul and other issues, according to an analysis of Senate lobby disclosure documents The clients who hired these firms ranged from the most influential industry associations to small, nonprofit advocacy groups." Washington lawyer and lobbying expert Ken Gross, called the amount of money spent on the health reform debate 'unprecedented'" (Eaton, Pell, Mehta, 3/26).
The Louisville Courier-Journal: "The spotlight on WellPoint was just one of the Indiana-related key points in the debate The state's makers of medical devices opposed new industry fees, proposed in the Senate version of the bill to help pay the cost of expanding insurance coverage to 32 million people Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, maker of drugs and medical devices, was part of the agreement that the pharmaceutical industry reached with the White House last year on how drug makers would contribute to the overhaul package."
"The biggest industry opposition came from health insurers Asked whether the industry thinks WellPoint's increases helped Democrats pass the bill, a spokesman for the trade association said WellPoint's need to raise premiums 'should have been a wake-up call that much more needed to be done to address the soaring cost of medical care'"(Groppe, 3/29).ACThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.