Healthcare lobbies increased spending in 2010

Amidst last year's battle over healthcare reform and Medicare payments to physicians, the American Medical Association ratcheted up its spending on lobbying, reports Kaiser Health News.

The Chicago-based AMA spent just under $22 million on lobbying activities in 2010, up nearly 9 percent from 2009, making it the largest spender for lobbying operations among healthcare groups.

A lot of the spending was focused on preventing double-digit cuts in reimbursements to physicians as part of the Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula. AMA President Cecil Wilson conceded that the effort brought its physician members "a one-year reprieve from the scheduled cuts resulting from the broken Medicare physician payment system," notes KHN.

Spending also increased by the American Hospital Association and America's Health Plans. Much of that boost is attributed again to the Medicare reimbursement issue, along with the promulgation of some more esoteric federal rules of interest to those groups.

However, overall spending among the 10 largest healthcare lobbies totaled $127 million, or a drop of 9 percent from 2009. Much of that stemmed from reduced spending by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which had pushed hard for a reform bill in 2009, but pulled back after its CEO, Billy Tauzin, announced his departure in early 2010.

For more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- read the Becker's Hospital Review article