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Two things happened in Washington this week that were inevitable: President Joe Biden tested positive for covid-19, and the Senate agreed to move forward on a budget bill that includes only a sliver of what Biden hoped it would. Still, the bill to allow Medicare to negotiate some drug prices, cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, and extend temporary subsidies for Affordable Care Act insurance premiums would represent a major step if Democrats can get it across the finish line. Meanwhile, abortion battles continue to escalate around the country, with Texas leading the way in restrictions. Shefali Luthra of The 19th, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., the new president of the American Medical Association.
The South Carolina senator led the congressional pack in pharma campaign contributions for the second half of 2021. There are clear reasons.
With an eye to shutting down Medicare drug price negotiations, drug companies and their lobbying groups gave roughly $1.6 million in the first six months of 2021, with Democrats edging closer than they have in a decade to Republicans’ total haul.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has received almost $100,000 from drug companies in the current election cycle, a KHN analysis shows, one of the largest cash hauls in Congress. And it’s only her first term.
Three senators on a revived subcommittee received more than $100,000 each from drugmakers.
In the first six months of this year, pharmaceutical firms and their trade groups donated almost $4 million to the campaigns of a variety of senators and House members.
Congress has a variety of reforms in mind that could roil the drugmaking business and potentially slash prices.
Top House Republican also received more than $1 million from drugmakers since 2007.
Drugmakers’ contributions to lawmakers have peaked as surging drug prices emerge as a hot-button political issue. In the past decade, members of Congress have received nearly $79 million from 68 pharma PACs. And the giving crosses the aisle: In California, seven of the top 10 beneficiaries are Democrats — though Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House majority leader, tops other Golden State lawmakers in Congress by a wide margin.
A new Kaiser Health News database tracks campaign donations from drugmakers over the past 10 years.