February 24th, 2010
06:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Health care reform efforts prompt lobbying bonanza

Washington (CNN) - As politicians ramp up efforts aimed at trying to forge a consensus on health care reform, there's more evidence of just how intense the activity is behind the scenes at trying to influence the outcome.

More than 1,750 companies and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists in 2009 whose work was aimed at the issue, according to a new study from the Center for Public Integrity, an organization which tracks lobbying and spending. That translates to 8 health care lobbyists for each member of Congress.

Among those who registered to lobby in an attempt to help determine the contents of a health care bill included 207 hospitals, 105 insurance companies, 85 manufacturing companies as well 745 groups of trade, advocacy and professional organizations.

In 2009 the health sector spent $544,367,861 on lobbying, according to the center, and that doesn't include efforts by those in other sectors who would be involved in the health care issue as well, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Efforts to gain influence were also seen in other ways. For the 2010 election cycle, $45,282,968 has been given out in campaign donations by those in the sector. More than $200 million was spent in all of last year on television ads related to the health care reform issue, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's ad consultant.

As 2009 went on and health care became the dominant issue in Washington, the center reports the number of lobbyists working on it more than doubled from more than 1,400 in the first three months to almost 3,700 in the final quarter of the year.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Hardcore GOP

    "Change we can believe in"–where is the change NObama.Looks like business as usual.

    February 24, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    The best Republican Senators their money can buy (to vote NO).

    February 24, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Andy

    "yes we can" WELL I DO NOT SEE A THING DIFFERENT-this is what you slammed Bush on.

    February 24, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Susan

    Well NObama what happened to "change we can believe in" you are such a phony-just hot air and spin.Rape the citizens again just as usual.Is this your affordable healthcare? I know blame it on the Republicans and Bush.

    February 24, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Sounds like a "hot mess" going on.

    February 24, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. cmb

    From what I have observed as just a regular working class upper middle aged (okay 60) woman who is neither a D or an R my observation is this. The Republicans say they want to scrap the whole bill and start over. Here is why I think this will not make any difference. If President Obama said,"Okay Republicans, you write up a bill the way you want it to be, word for word, and I promise you that I will sign it into law," the Republicans would still say have some reason to say no. The reason is because it would still be signed by Barack Obama, it would be signed during his adminitration and history would still say it was his health care law–and that they cannot abide. They don't really care what is in it , as long as it is done when they can claim it as theirs. And if any of you Republicans in the WH say that is not true–"You Lie."

    February 24, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Michael from Ventura

    Are you reading this America? Hope so!!

    February 24, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I'm sure the Republicans will be lined up for their handout! Why do you think they have fought this so hard. They already owe their souls to big corporations and lobbyist. LOOK WHO THEY VOTE TO PROTECT. That tells you everything you need to know. It won't be the average citizen.

    February 24, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Chip

    8 lobbyists for each member of congress and we wonder why health care is so expensive.Healthcare is a business and not care.

    February 24, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    The Democrats have spent a lot of time taking generous care of all of these lobbyists and their special interests. I mean, we are talking $$billions$$!!!

    Then that guy Scott Brown shows up from Massachusetts and screws up all these great deals for the Democrats! Drat!

    February 24, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Jmad2010

    I don't understand why everyone is so concerned about health reform in America. Don't get me wrong... we as Americans should be entitled to better health care coverage regardless of what the situation is. The origin of this problem could probably be traced back to the Johnson administration. The real underlying problem are the individuals who are representing the people! Instead of health reform let's think about government reform.

    February 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Rowe

    Over FIVE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS spent by the health care industry to lobby Congress.

    Cost of an X-Ray: about $300
    Cost of a mammogram: about $300
    Cost of a hip replacement: about $15000
    Cost of a kidney transplant: about $50000

    So, the health insurance industry sacrificed money they could have spent on 1.8 million mammograms, 37000 hip replacements, or 11000 kidney transplants to lobby Congress not to derail their gravy train?

    This is EXACTLY the argument for a Public Option or a Single Payer health insurance system.

    February 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Elmer

    Mr President, please keep the promise...that lobbyists won't run Washington DC any longer. Call everyone, especially the worst abusers – and to show good faith – those in your party first, out on the carpet and demand they not speak to the lobbyists in any forum other than a public hearing. That way whatever constructive and intelligent ideas that the lobbyists have (and frankly there are many lobbyists who know the health care business as well as anyone) will be heard. But the backroom deals that Reid pulled off and then you let happen recently must end.

    February 24, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. Obama the Liar

    and the majority is union goons and liberal trial lawyers and throw in soma acorns and george soros' loons.

    February 24, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This is trouble for the working class American. Money can buy anything in Washington. Under the Bush administration, the number of lobbyists in Washington doubled, with over 95% of them republican, and with many former members of congress involved.

    February 24, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. Anthony

    I got a new solution.. lets make LOBBYING illegal.

    We've separated Church from State, lets separate wealthy agenda-driven corporations from having sway on Politicians as well..

    I cant PAY the traffic officer to persuade him NOT to give me a ticket, can I? Its bribery, and Id be arrested.

    We elect politicians to represent us, not to go back on all of their campaign promises and represent some pharmaceutical company.

    February 24, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. Dwayne

    Wow, imagine that! Fear and Greed at it's best. And you call natural disaster victim's animals? I hope I'm around long enough to see the grand finale!

    February 24, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. Dean

    Why do we allow lobbyists? It is illegal for nayone in our government to accept any kind of monies, gifts or any rewards for their vote. So if bribing is not allowed, what else do lobbyists do? Get rid of them and healthcare costs should go down quite a bit. Same with drug reps who bring entire health organizations and doctors offices and mental health centers free lunches andhand out drug samples for patients. This costs hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

    February 24, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. Slaggingham

    Can someone PLEASE tell us just how the lobbying spending breaks down? Who's spending more money, the ins. companies lobbying against the haelthcare bill, or the big pharmaceutical companies who are lobbying FOR it, because of the deals they've been promised?

    And what side are the Trial Lawyers on? Since they exist to make sure lawyers get their cut of the multimillion-dollar lawsuits, whatever side they are on can be assumed to be wrong.

    February 24, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. clementine

    that much time and money a few will get rich the rest of us will just be sick......where is that american compassion we so willing give

    February 24, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    And every politician who even meets with a lobbyist ought to be investigated for accepting bribes. Any politicians who accepts so much as a stick of gum ought to be convicted of taking bribes.

    This country is supposed to of the people, by the people, and for the people. It's not supposed to be of, by, and for those who offer the biggest bribes.

    February 24, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |