AHA spends $1M on election ads

As the November elections near, the American Hospital Association spent almost $1 million on ads supporting Republican incumbent representatives in Louisiana, Washington, New York and Pennsylvania who all sit on healthcare-related committees, the Center for Public Integrity reported.

The AHA's political action committee directed its independent contributions toward Republican candidates, while its direct contributions supported Democrats. The hospital group's outside spending backed six candidates, all of whom voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Public Integrity noted.

AHA, which represents 5,000 hospitals, has been vocal with its criticism of several ACA provisions. According to the hospital group, proposed tax-exempt regulations for charitable hospitals are too burdensome, as are rules for providers to report and repay Medicare overpayments.

Last year, healthcare providers outspent other industries on lobbying efforts. Massachusetts hospitals, insurers, doctors and unions spent more than $11.6 million on lobbying in 2011 alone. Meanwhile, in California, hospitals, insurers, physicians and unions shelled out $35.7 million on lobbying last year, more than every other non-government industry, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

However, healthcare organizations have been coming under fire for political lobbying of late. For instance, Aetna recently released its 2011 political contributions report and now faces pressure from investors to disclose how much money it has donated to political and lobbying organizations. Back at the insurer's 2011 annual shareholders meeting, protesters accused the insurer of publicly supporting healthcare reform while privately funneling money to its opponents.

To learn more:
- read the Center for Public Integrity article
- here's the list of AHA independent expenditures