Healthcare providers outspend other industries on lobbying

Hospitals, insurers, doctors and unions in Massachusetts shelled out more than $11.6 million on lobbying in 2011 alone, according to a review of state records by the Associated Press. Moreover, the healthcare industry spent a total of $51.6 million from 2007 to 2011. Comparatively, the casino gambling industry spent $11.4 million on lobbying during that period.

Partners HealthCare spent the most on lobbying during those five years, at $2.9 million, while the Massachusetts Nurses Association spent $2 million, the article noted.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care dedicated $1.6 million toward lobbying efforts, with Vanguard Health Systems at $1.42 million and Children's Hospital Boston at $1.38 million.

Partners HealthCare attributes the hefty lobbying expenditure to keeping the lines of communication with lawmakers open as they explore new ways to control rising healthcare costs, the health system's spokesman told the AP.

Meanwhile, in California, hospitals, insurers, physicians and unions spent $35.7 million on lobbying last year, outspending every other non-government industry, reported California Healthline.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan spent $3.5 million, and the California Hospital Association spent $2.6 million, earning them the top two spots.

According to the hospital association, efforts to pass another round of hospital provider fees was one of the largest lobbying expenditures for hospitals in 2011, according to the article.

The next major spending industries in California, manufacturing and industrial interests and education, trailed far behind at $23.8 million and $19.4 million, respectively.

For more information:
- read the AP article
- here's the California Healthline article