Tag Archives: Congress

Analysis reveals who hired health care lobbyists

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Center for Public Integrity has put together an interesting analysis and graph of what interests were lobbying on health care reform in Congress in 2009.

Information to create the chart is drawn from an analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms. The analysis found 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.”

Trade, advocacy and professional organizations led the lobbying push, with hospitals, insurance companies and manufacturers behind them.

Some interesting tidbits:

  • AARP deployed 56 in-house lobbyists and two from outside firms
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had 47 lobbyists, all but eight from outside firms
  • The American Medical Association had 33, 11 from outside firms.
  • Some unexpected organizations, including Americans for the Arts and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, also had lobbyists trying to influence health care legislation.

Baucus releases ‘Healthy Future Act’

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

As expected, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D‐Mont.) released that committee’s health reform proposal, called America’s Healthy Future Act, today. In a press release Baucus says, “We worked to build a balanced, common‐sense package that ensures quality, affordable coverage and doesn’t add a dime to the deficit.”

CNN breaks down key points of the bill. On NPR’s health blog, Scott Hensley points to what’s included and what isn’t. The New York Times‘ David M. Herszenhorn blogged from Baucus’ press briefing. William Branigin, Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray of The Washington Post report that Baucus has not been able to get a public endorsement from any Republicans, despite “more than 100 hours of meetings over several weeks with a bipartisan group of Senate health-care negotiators known as the ‘Gang of Six’.” Derek Thompson of The Atlantic asks “Does anybody actually like the Baucus health care bill?

Tough talk and rough road for health reform

Scott Hensley

About Scott Hensley

Scott Hensley runs NPR's online health channel, Shots. Previously he was the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog and covered the drug industry and the Human Genome Project for the Journal. Hensley serves on AHCJ's board of directors. You can follow him at @ScottHensley.

Speechmaking has given way to lawmaking. Now that the complex task of making health reform real is under way, it’s shaping up as a pretty tough slog.

The Senate Health Committee began its public deliberations over a draft bill with some testy sparring between Republicans and Democrats. Pick your winner in the soundbite battle over the legislation.

uscapitol
Photo by cloudsoup via Flickr

In the Republican corner, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire: “I don’t know who wrote it, but if it had been Rube Goldberg, Ira Magaziner, and Karl Marx you might have gotten this product.”

Counterpunching for the Democrats, Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland: “Our current system is a combination of Adam Smith, Darth Vader, and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ .”

A sobering financial challenge lies behind the sniping – cost estimates have ballooned to $1.6 trillion. Democrats “privately acknowledged” to the Washington Post that finding a way to pay for an expansion of health coverage without blowing up the federal budget “is proving excruciatingly difficult.”

Indeed, the powerful Senate Finance Committee postponed the release of its draft amid worries about cost and a push for at least a little bipartisan support. “We’re not there yet,” said Chairman Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), The Wall Street Journal reported.