Health Industry Leaders Donating More to GOP After Health Overhaul
Physician groups, health insurers and other key health industry players increasingly have shifted their political contributions from Democrats and lobbyists who supported the federal health reform law to Republicans in the months since the federal health reform law was enacted, according to new data analyses and recent federal election filings, Politico reports.
Many physicians and insurers allied with the Obama administration and Democrats while the overhaul was being developed. However, industry support began to shift as the bill advanced and the likelihood of new regulations loomed.
Health sector political action committees have donated nearly $40 million during the 2010 midterm election cycle, according to Politico.
In June, the most recent month for which data was available, health insurers donated nearly $544,000 to Republicans, compared with about $354,000 to Democrats.
Meanwhile, health care professionals in recent months have donated about $2.7 million to members of the Tea Party Caucus, a congressional extension of the conservative movement that is opposed to the reform law.
Drugmakers, which spent millions of dollars on television ads in support of the overhaul, now are withholding contributions in the months leading up to the midterms, Politico reports.
Insurance Industry Leads Shift
The shift in political contributions was expected after the administration and Democrats clashed with insurers and physician groups over the law's regulations and restrictions.
Shortly after health industry officials pledged to work with Democrats to implement the law in May 2009, the administration began to take a stronger stance against health insurers, criticizing companies for their rescission practices and premium rate increases.
As a result, by August 2009 insurers were diverting more money to Republicans than Democrats, according to Politico (Kliff, Politico, 10/4).
Since January 2010, the five largest insurance companies and America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's lobbying group, have given three times more money to Republican lawmakers and their PACs, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Insurers believe Republicans are likely to regain control in one or both chambers of Congress and play a greater role in reshaping the reform law, according to industry observers.
Experts on the insurance industry noted that insurers experienced large gains while Republicans controlled Congress, given the party's more business-friendly stance (Levey, Chicago Tribune, 10/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.