Saturday, November 21, 2009

Healthcare lobby set for record spending this year

It's not just spending on U.S. healthcare that is breaking records. Drugmakers, insurers and industry groups are on track to spend an all-time high of more than $500 million this year to influence Congress' revamp of the healthcare system.

Lobbyists for the healthcare sector will likely smash previous spending records by tens of millions of dollars this year as Democratic lawmakers try to reshape the industry by expanding coverage and shaving costs.

"If current trends continue, the health sector is likely to spend more than a half-billion dollars on lobbying in 2009," said The New England Journal of Medicine's Dr. Robert Steinbrook.

As Congress makes a final push for a bill to overhaul the $2.5 trillion healthcare system that fuels one-sixth of the U.S. economy, health companies and industry groups are trying to shape the outcome.