Ifill digs into Health Policy lobbying money


PBS Newshour’s Gwen Ifill filed a report on the staggering sums of money spent on lobbying by various industries whose balance sheets are riding on the outcome of health care reform.

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She leads with big numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics, including $400 million from the health care sector and $120 million from insurers in the first nine months of 2009 alone. To drive those numbers home, the Center’s Dave Levinthal even called it one of the “biggest lobbying efforts ever on a single piece of legislation that the United States has ever seen.”

According to Levinthal, Health Policy’s unique combination of a massive industry and a long, drawn-out process has created a sort of perfect storm for lobbyists. He added that, while strides have been made since the Abramoff days, lobbyists still have a long way to go in the transparency department. An analysis released by the center finds that “the senators who opposed the health insurance reform bill passed on Christmas Eve received an average of nearly 30 percent more political donations from political action committees and individual employees of health and health insurance-related groups and companies since 1989.”

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