A Bird’s-Eye View Of Health LobbyingThe Center for Public Integrity's new "analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows that more than 1,750 companies and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists - eight for each member of Congress - to influence health reform bills in 2009." The AARP, a retirees' advocacy group which is among the most active organizations in Congress, mustered 58 lobbyists to health overhaul issues. The Chamber of Commerce used 47.
"Businesses and organizations that lobbied on health reform spent more than $1.2 billion on their overall lobby efforts," the report finds, out of a total of $3.47 billion for all reported lobbying last year. However, the amount spent on health overhaul issues is not reported independent of other issues the same organizations lobbied on. The total number of lobbyists working on health care doubled last year.
"From an industry perspective, it was money well spent. A close look at the health reform bills that passed the House and Senate show lobbyists were apparently effective at blocking provisions like a robust government-run insurance program, and blunting the effect of cost-cutting measures on health care companies." Some industry groups, however, are now concerned their compromises and lobbying successes will be lost on a scaled-back overhaul (Eaton and Pell, 2/23). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.