The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the health-care industry spent over $243 million lobbying on health care issues through the first six months of 2013. No other industry sector spent more lobbying Congress and the federal government. The industry is on-pace to match its 2012 lobbying of around $500 million.
While ObamaCare was enacted three years ago, the government has been slowing drafting the rules and regulations that will guide implementation. Small word changes in the rules can mean millions of dollars to the bottom-lines of many companies. There are also efforts to win Congressional support for legislation that would repeal or tweak individual components of the ObamaCare law. This lobbying is likely to increase over the coming year, as the law comes into effect.
Even if conservatives win their fight in Congress to defund the ObamaCare law, large portions of it are funding by mandatory spending not subject to Congressional appropriations. These would continue, regardless of how Congress decides the funding issue.
Over 2,400 individuals are registered as lobbyists for the health-care sector. It is important to note, however, that this number, and the total spent, is likely a fraction of what the industry is spending to influence the government on ObamaCare. Direct lobbying only covers a portion of activities companies and associations employ to influence government. Elizabeth Fowler, who directs health policy for Johnson & Johnson and was a chief architect of the law, isn’t required to register as a lobbyist, for example.
After three years, ObamaCare has woven itself into the fabric of the DC influence world. Some companies and industries have no doubt won advantages for themselves in the drafting of the regulations. This phenomenon, and the resources behind it, will make it very difficult to get rid of the health care law.