Industry lobbies in last-minute campaign to shrink costs

As most readers know, extracting financial concessions from major health industry stakeholders has been a big piece of President Obama's strategy for funding health reform. While industry leaders have struck what are supposed to be firm deals with the Administration, that hasn't stopped them from making last-minute attempts to change the rules.

For example, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (known as AdvaMed), is lobbying Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus to cut devicemaker costs from $40 billion over the next year to only $15 billion. Right now, AdvaMed seems to have lost the fight, though reform efforts continue to defy expectations from time to time.

Another player that's a bit unhappy with the way things have turned out is the pharmaceutical business, which agreed to cut $80 billion on healthcare costs over the next decade. That agreement may be shaken by an amendment from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) allowing low-income seniors to buy drugs through Medicaid rather than Medicare, lowering the cost. Pharma lobbyists aren't too happy about the last-minute proposal, which would undercut the $80 million they were promised.

So far, the hospital industry's agreed-upon contribution of $155 billion doesn't seem to have been touched, but if I were in its shoes I'd keep an eye on things too. (Rest assured that's what hospital lobbyists are doing.)

To learn more about this controversy:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece

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