I don't have much opinion to share on this topic because I think it speaks for itself, so I'll just let you have the information and you can decide. An organization called the Sunlight Foundation shares information on the influence of health care lobbying on the Senate Finance Committee. Its all nicely visualized in "maps" of the connections between Senators, former aides turned lobbyists, and the companies they work for. They focus on Max Baucus first.
In 2008, Baucus received $1,148,775 from the health sector and $285,850 from the insurance sector. For his career he has received $2,797,381 from the health sector and $1,170,313 from the insurance sector.Following that, the Democrats of the Senate Finance Committee are examined. The money amounts are astounding. Baucus only comes in second lifetime to John Kerry. The Republicans aren't much better. On Senators Charles Grassley and Orin Hatch:
Over his career, Grassley received $1,876,479 from the health industry and $858,224 from the insurance industry. Hatch, meanwhile, pulled in $2,311,744 from the health industry and $659,307 from the insurance industry over his career.Most of the results are compiled from investigations done by OpenSecrets.org. OpenSecrets offers a wealth of information about lobbying. Here's some great stats.
- The AMA is the second highest spender in lobbying efforts at 208.5 million dollars since 1998. The Chamber of Commerce is first at 488.5. The American Hospital Association is fourth and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is sixth.
- The top ranked sector of spending is Finance, Insurance and Real Estate at 3.7 billion dollars since 1998. Health is second at 3.5 billion. If you go year by year, Health has been number one since 2006, and spending has averaged roughly 450 million dollars each of those years.
- The top two industries since 1998 are Pharmaceuticals (1.7 billion) and Insurance (1.3 billion). Pharma has been number one every single one of those years and Insurance has never been lower than three. For the last three years, Pharma has outspent whoever was number two by an average of 70 million.
- Based on issues, the Federal Budget and Appropriations has the greatest number of clients at close to 40,000. Health issues is second at almost 18,000. This indicates that the per-client spending on health issues is enormously high compared to other issues. Taxes, defense and transportation are third through fifth, issues noticeably absent from the tops of the other lists.
- The total number of clients per government agency is heavily stacked towards Congress; this includes all lobbying, not just health care lobbying. The HOR has 328 million and change in clients. The Senate has 325 and change. Third on the list is the Department of Defense at 50,000. Congress combined has 15 times the number of clients as the DOD and more clients than every other agency on the list combined.
- The Democratic party receives marginally more than the Republican party on average from contributors, although the top two recipients of contributions that are individual members of congress are Saxby Chambliss, R-GA and John Boehner, R-OH.
- The top ten organizational contributors include Cigna at ten with 3 million dollars, Blue Cross at eight with 3.1 and the AHA at seven with 3.7. Wal-Mart is number one with 9.4.