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The Facts


“You say you want to serve your country by running as a candidate for Congress today? Show me the money. Otherwise, you will be shown the door.”

- Bob Kerrey
Former Senator from Nebraska
ACR Chair

Healthcare Industry Money in Politics

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  1. Health Industry Invests $5b in Washington

    • The healthcare industry — including HMOs, health professionals, hospitals and nursing homes, and pharmaceuticals — contributed $825 million to candidates for federal office from 1990-2008.
    • The healthcare industry spent $3.4 billion to lobby the federal government on health policy matters from 1998-2008, including $480 million in 2008 alone.
    • Annual contributions from the healthcare industry increased sevenfold from $21.9 million in 1990 to nearly $150 million in 2008, placing it in the top three contributing industries to Congress and the President.
  2. Healthcare Money Favors Party in Power

    • In nine out of ten election cycles from 1990-2008, the healthcare industry directed the majority of its campaign contributions to the political party in power.
    • Republicans received 57% of total healthcare industry contributions while Democrats received 43% of industry contributions from 1990-2008.
    • The top twenty recipients of healthcare industry contributions from 1990-2008 included an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.
  3. Incumbents Profit from Healthcare Largesse

    • Incumbent Members of the U.S. House and Senate received an average of $103,250 and $508,852, respectively, in healthcare industry contributions in 2008.
    • Congressional incumbents received 82 percent of the total $127 million in healthcare industry contributions in 2008, compared with 18 percent for challengers and open seat candidates combined.
    • 39 out of the top 40 recipients of healthcare industry contributions in 2008 were incumbents.
  4. Healthcare Industry Targets Key Committees

    • Healthcare industry contributions heavily favored incumbent Members of the House and Senate health, commerce, and tax committees, which are primarily responsible for healthcare industry regulation.
    • The top 20 House and Senate beneficiaries of healthcare industry contributions received an average $557,210 and $1.3 million, respectively, more than twice the Senate average and almost five times the House average.
    • The top 20 House and Senate recipients of healthcare industry contributions consisted primarily of chairmen and senior members of the health, commerce, and tax committees, House and Senate leaders, and major party presidential candidates.

Source: Center for Responsive Politics; analysis of campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission, 1990-2008