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Health groups ramp up lobbying spending amid repeal fight 

Health groups ramp up lobbying spending amid repeal fight 
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Healthcare groups kicked up their lobbying spending this year as Republicans in Congress work to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

The majority of healthcare associations and professional groups have opposed the GOP's healthcare plan, and federal documents released Thursday show they have collectively increased their lobbying spending by millions of dollars this year. 

The American Medical Association (AMA) spent $12 million on lobbying in the first half of 2017, compared to $11 million in the first half of 2016. 

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In the second quarter of 2017, which ended June 30, the AMA spent $5.3 million on its lobbying efforts, compared to $4.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. 

According to federal documents, the AMA lobbied against both the Senate and House healthcare bills, among other issues. 

AARP also amped up its spending amid the healthcare fight, spending $4.6 million on lobbying for the first half of 2017, compared to $3.9 in the first half of 2016. 

AARP has been perhaps the most vocal opponent of the repeal-and-replace bills, railing against a provision that would change the limit on how much insurers can charge older people for insurance.  

AARP urged senators in a letter Friday to vote no on a motion to proceed next week.  

The American Hospital Association, which also opposes the GOP's health plans, saw a decrease in lobbying spending over this time last year, from $9.8 million to $8.3 million. 

The Federation of American Hospitals increase its spending by 64 percent over this time last year, from $1.4 million to $2.3 million. 

Others notable groups in the healthcare debate:

  • The American Health Care Association kept its lobbying spending leveled from 2016 to 2017, spending about $1.8 million in the first half of both years. 
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges saw a slight increase from $1.5 million in the first half of 2016 to $1.9 million in the first half of 2017.  
  • The National Association of Children's Hospitals spent $2.1 million on lobbying spending in the first half of 2017, compared to $1.8 million during the same time last year.
     
  • Phrma, one of the biggest prescription drug lobbying groups, spent $14 million on lobbying efforts in the first half of 2017, compared to $10.5 million in the first half of 2016. 
  • The major health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield kept its lobbying spending level from 2016 to 2017, spending about $4.2 million in the first half of both years. 
  • America's Health Insurance Plans spent less on lobbying this year — $1.8 million compared to $2.4 million in the first half of last year.