Report: Health lobbying down in first quarter

Spending on lobbying by the healthcare sector was down in the first quarter of 2014, pointing to a possible fifth year of consecutive declines, according to a report.

Companies across the industry spent $128,758,996 at the beginning of this year, the first time since 2008 that healthcare players spent less than $130 million on lobbying in the first quarter.

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The sector peaked in 2009 after spending $554 million on lobbying, according to the Morning Consult, which analyzed data from the Centers for Responsive Politics.

The report noted that spending is likely to further decrease as 2014 progresses, because the first quarter is usually the heaviest when it comes to lobbying outlays.

The consistent decline corresponds with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and persisted despite severe problems with the law's rollout last fall.

A majority of the lobbying funds spent so far this year came from pharmaceutical companies, at $65.4 million, followed by hospitals and health professionals, at $22 million.

The total for health insurance companies was $40 million. 

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