Lobbyists, Advocates Press Candidates on Health Care
Health care is emerging as a key issue of 2008 presidential candidates' domestic proposals, and health industry groups and lobbyists are working to advance their interests with candidates as they campaign, Roll Call reports.
Because many candidates are members of Congress, lobbyists "have reached out on more immediate legislative matters in the hope that getting a would-be president to champion their cause will help get it over the finish line even before next year," Roll Call reports.
The Federation of American Hospitals and Families USA are joining efforts to make sure presidential candidates of both party affiliations keep health care a priority.
Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said he is working to get all presidential candidates involved in public discussions on the issue in Washington, D.C., and in the first primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
Missy Jenkins, vice president of federal lobbying for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, said her group -- along with a coalition advocating for legislation that would allow for generic versions of biotechnology drugs -- has discussed its issues with presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
Cecil Wilson, chair of the American Medical Association's board of trustees, said AMA is reaching out to candidates to promote universal health care coverage.
David Certner, director of federal affairs for AARP, said health care is an issue that his organization also plans to "push as much as possible" with presidential candidates.
The American Hospital Association is in the beginning stages of a lobbying effort, and America's Health Insurance Plans has sent out its health care proposals to all the presidential candidates.
Mohit Ghose, vice president of public affairs at AHIP, said, "I think they will reach out to us when they feel the time is appropriate. Our role as an industry is to put forward a positive agenda, which we believe will lead to real solutions" (Ackley, Roll Call, 2/14).