The $380 Million Gorilla
Posted on Oct 1, 2009
With six lobbyists for every congressperson and $380 million spent on lobbying in recent months, the health care industry has pulled out all the stops in battling against any reform to the nation’s health insurance system, no matter how watered down it might be.
America’s healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.
Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ? principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ? that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.
The industry and interest groups have spent $380m (£238m) in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totalling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law.
Flickr.com / HSeverson
Activists arguing for universal health care, or even a public option, are drowned out by the health insurance industry, which employs six lobbyists for every member of Congress.