Roll Call is reporting that medical interests spent “more than $876 million in lobbying expenses during the 15 months beginning in January 2009 and ending in March, when Congress passed the sweeping overhaul” and were “responsible for one out of every five dollars doled out on lobbying during that period.” Here is a partial breakdown, according to the CQ MoneyLine analysis:
While all of the health care interest groups won important concessions from the new law, none were more successful than the hospital industry, which negotiated an early deal with the Democrats “to provide $155 billion over 10 years to defray costs for uninsured Americans” and avoided more serious cuts. For example, currently the government pays about $45 billion dollars a year in DSH payments to help hospitals afford uncompensated care. Since health care reform will insure 34 million Americans over a 10-year period, the number of ‘uncompensated’ care cases will decrease by as much as 80%, but DSH payments will only be cut by some 15%.
As Thomas Scully, who ran CMS from 2001 to 2004, explained at a recent roundtable for Health Affairs, “That may not work out as well for inner-city hospitals with high levels of indigent care, but the bond prices and stock prices will tell you that most hospitals are winners, at least in this bill. Assuming there are no subsequent bills, hospitals are probably the biggest winners. They got hardly touched and got a lot of new money.” Hospitals are also protected from cuts under the Independent Payment Advisory Board through 2019 and can expect to net as much as $16 billion from “reimbursements for newly insured patients who would be covered under the overhaul plan.”
The pharmaceutical industry also did well, accepting approximately $80 billion in cuts, while holding off policies like direct drug negotiation and re importation, that would have resulted in higher loses.