Health Care Industry Focuses Giving to Health Care Committees
- Dale Eisman
Like other industries, the health care industry directs most of its campaign contributions to the members of Congress best positioned to influence relevant policies and regulations. More than half the total contributions from health care companies since 1989 have gone to the members who sit on at least one of the five committees in the House or Senate that are currently working on producing health care reform legislation.
The health care industry has given $313.8 million in campaign contributions to current members of Congress since 1989. Of that, $166.7 million or 53 percent has gone to the members of the House and Senate who currently sit on at least one of the five committee with jurisdiction over health care reform, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
“I doubt anyone is surprised to hear that the health care industry, or any other industry for that matter, donates most of its money to the members who sit on the relevant committees,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “Let’s just step back and ask ourselves why this is: because these companies believe they are getting something in return for their money.”
As the Senate Finance Committee prepares to vote soon on health care reform, the health care industry additionally continues to spend $1.4 million a day lobbying Congress. This toxic cocktail of spending on lobbying and campaign contributions serves to further drown out the voice of the public in this critical debate.
Common Cause continues to work to pass the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826 / S.752) as the comprehensive solution to the pay-to-play culture in Washington, DC, which would create a citizen-funded election system for Congress in which candidates could run for office on a blend of small donations and public funds.
“Our campaign financing system is fundamentally flawed,” said Edgar. “All of the men and women in Congress who are working to reform our health care system, especially those with the most influence in the process, depend on the continued support of health care companies. This is an obvious problem.”
Other recent Common Cause reports on health care reform:
Health care industry continues to spend big as debate enters critical stage
As the health care reform debate enters a critical phase in Congress, the health care industry continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbying and ad campaigns on top of millions in campaign contributions.
Drug Companies Lobby for More Protection from Competition
Since 2007, PhRMA, the Biotechnology Industry Organization and major pharmaceutical companies spent nearly $240 million lobbying Congress, with about $30 million of that spent in the first three months of 2009 alone, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Legislating Under the Influence
As the debate over reforming the health care system heats up in Congress, a new report by Common Cause finds that major health care interests are spending more than $1.4 million a day to lobby Capitol Hill so far this year, and that those same health care interests have significantly ramped up campaign contributions, donating about $373 million to Members of Congress since 2000.
Percentage of Campaign Contributions from Health Care Industry
to Committees with Jurisdiction over Health Care Reform – 1989-2009
Education and Labor
Energy and Commerce
Ways and Means
Finance and HELP
Source: Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org)
Includes contributions from individuals and PACs to lawmakers’ campaign committees and leadership PACs.
Health Insurance totals are a combination of contributions from health and accident insurers, HMOs and other health services