Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Report Details Lawmakers' 'One-Two Punch' in Health-Care Donations

Updated 2:29 p.m.
By Dan Eggen
The health-care industry is already one of the leading contributors to Congress, but a new study finds that health-care lobbyists add to the industry's clout by giving money to many of the same lawmakers themselves.

A joint study released Thursday by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation found that lawmakers including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) all received significant contributions from lobbyists and the health-care firms they represent.

Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and author of the main health-care bill now under consideration in Congress, "was one of the biggest beneficiaries of this one-two punch from the lobbyists and their clients," the groups report.

From January 2007 to June 2009, Baucus collected donations from 37 outside lobbyists representing the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA), the top drugmaker trade group. Baucus also received money from 36 lobbyists representing a single drugmaker, Amgen Inc., the study shows.

The study also combined lobbyist contributions with donations connected to health-care firms to form "lobbyist bundles," representing a web of interconnected contributions connected to a single firm or trade group. By this measurement, McConnell, the Senate minority leader, took in money from 14 separate health-care bundles while Baucus took in 11, the study found. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) led the pack with 22 bundles, though much of that money was directed toward last year's failed presidential campaign.

The patterns in the study underscore the oddball alliances and complicated politics surrounding this year's health-care debate. On the one hand, PhRMA and other major industry players have pledged to support many of the reforms -- which might grant them millions of new customers -- putting them on the side of Democrats.

"Most of the organizations listed not only don't support Senator McConnell's position on the Democrats' health-care proposals, they're running ads against his position," said Don Stewart, a McConnell spokesman.

On the other hand, the industry is aligned with Republicans on the issue of a public insurance option, which would compete with private insurers for customers and which is favored by liberal Democrats. Baucus's committee recently struck down attempts to include such an option in that panel's evolving reform bill; Baucus was among those who voted to defeat the measures.

In total, the study found, 61 members of Congress, including 39 senators, received money from 10 or more outside lobbyists whose clients also contributed to their campaigns. Perhaps reflecting the new balance of power in Washington, 62 percent of those members are Democrats.

The CRP-Sunlight Foundation study is only the latest in a series of analyses to illustrate the broad influence of the health-care industry on Capitol Hill. Data from the first half of this year showed health-care firms spending money at the rate of nearly $1.5 million a day on lobbying alone, in addition to a steady tide of campaign contributions.

The study results are available at and

By Dan Eggen  |  October 1, 2009; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Today on the Hill
Next: War of Words Continues Over Grayson


Posted by: eyemakeupneeded1 | October 1, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Obviously the insurance companies did not pay Obama and his accomplices enough, so they are being demonized. Big Pharma, on the other hand, did.

Obama and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly reached an agreement through which Big Pharma will get richer at our expense by helping Obama enslave us with Obamacare.

"The memo... says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada — and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

In other words, Big Pharma will get richer for helping Obama enslave us with Obamacare.

We may have issues with insurance companies, hospitals and doctors, but that does not mean we want the Obamacare scam. We do NOT WANT SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | October 1, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: eyemakeupneeded1 | October 1, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: eyemakeupneeded1 | October 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

As numerous posts to follow will clearly indicate, Americans are too stupid and gullible to be able to manage reforming our bloated, inefficient health care system, the worst in the industrialized world.

I do derive some small, evil satisfaction - not pleasure, really - from knowing by absolute statistical fact that many of the rightists who have lobbied hard against the public option and single payer will be victims of the system they have preserved. Get a chronic illness, have that become a precondition, get cancelled, go bankrupt, and there you are. Soon dead. All your "personal responsibility" will not do a thing to save you. I can tell you this: from now on, when I see a fund jar to help someone with the costs of their illness, I am going to ask where this person and their family stood on health care reform.

None of which makes Baucus right. But if we could have had an intelligent discussion, we would have landed on single payer, public option, or something like it, as all other western democracies have. The Bogus dissent over false and meaningless issues has created confusion, thus providing the opportunity for the lobbyists to take over. Of course, their backing and funding also helped generate that bogus dissent and confusion; but without the slavish consent of the perpetually angry right (anger limits critical thinking, right?) to any lies their leaders tell them, it wouldn't have worked.

We have all lost.

Posted by: NomoStew | October 1, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

AntonioSosa, every other western democracy has a more socialized plan than anything Obama proposed. They haven't gone communist. In fact, they are using cheaper, more effective health care to seize a competitive advantage in good old-fashioned capitalism. Your fears are unfounded, to put it mildly.

Posted by: NomoStew | October 1, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Both parties have received contributions.
However, the bottom line is: 1)"actual" cost savings have not been identified to justify any bill; 2) democrats have only "shifted" costs (which means taxes Will increase; 3) there is no substance;
all we have is a liberal,pie-in-the-sky idea that we have no basis of justifying or sustaining.
Most average Americans are either unemployed, Under-employed, have taken a wage reduction to keep their jobs, and cannot afford any tax increases at all.

Posted by: ohioan | October 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I heard on the news that those who OPPOSE health care reform received $10 MILLION in donations from the health insurance industry versus $3.5 million for those who support health care reform....

The same politicians who oppose health care reform have premium health care at their fingertips right at the capitol -- primary health care at their doorstep....

That pretty much sums it all up, doesn't it?

We have the worst politicians money can buy.... And our politicians have been bought and have kept their 30 pieces of silver....

What do we, the American public get????

Posted by: abbydelabbey | October 1, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

AntonioSosa is payed to post insurance supporting comments all day.

Posted by: Independent4tw | October 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Our message to the House and Senate:

Physicians overwhelmingly support the public option.

American voters overwhelmingly demand the public option.


Posted by: onestring | October 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

independent4tw,i think your right.

Posted by: donaldtucker | October 1, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so a majority of Americans -- easily 10%, maybe 12% -- are against socialized medicine. That means they're against Medicare, which is not only socialism but also discriminates by age. And we must stop those awful socialist EMS people and firefighters. They are not mentioned in our Constitution any more than Jesus is.
Come to think of it, electricity and petroleum products aren't mentioned in the Constitution either. Or in the Bible. We must ban them immediately!

Take back America! Save our wood stoves, horse-drawn carriages, and whale-oil lamps!

Posted by: roblimo | October 2, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The President of USA actually wants to do something tangible for all Americians by providing health insurance. However, it is surprising to note that the bill to provide health insurance to all Americans has been stalled. I would request each one of them who resisted such an attempt to do a retrospection and do something to ensure that the bill is reinstated in the present form.

K.V. Suryanarayanan, Coimbatore, India

Posted by: kvs_53 | October 3, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

The Best 10 Minutes You will Spend in Your Life time!

31 years ago… The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Milton Friedman - Socialized Medicine

MEMO for the Democrats in Congress,
You don't even have to be able to read...just listen.

Posted by: ekim53 | October 4, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company