Top lobbying groups dive into 'Medicare for All' debate

Top lobbying groups dive into 'Medicare for All' debate
© Greg Nash

The debate over "Medicare for All" is seeing big money interests rushing to back both sides, with top lobbying groups registered to both oppose and push for the policy.

Legislation for the single-payer system, introduced in the House in February, has 33 companies registered to lobby on it so far in 2019, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), has 113 co-sponsors.

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And legislation in the Senate, introduced by 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has 14 co-sponsors.

Among the companies registered to lobby on the bill are also Kaiser Permanente, the American Federation of Teachers, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Planned Parenthood and the National Retail Federation.

These companies are big spenders on lobbying across all issues. So far in 2019, the Chamber has spent more than $22.3 million on lobbying and PhRMA has spent more than $10 million.

The American Medical Association has spent more than $6.9 million, the American Hospital Association has spent more than $6.3 million and Blue Cross Blue Shield has spent more than $5.8 million.

They are all in the top six spenders of lobbying in 2019 overall.

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Medicare for all gained renewed attention as a divisive topic during the two Democratic debates this week, splitting the candidates. Sanders touted his legislation, which would fully eliminate private insurance, while other candidates indicated they would back a plan that allows people to stay in private insurance plans.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHow a progressive populist appears to have toppled Engel Battle brewing on coronavirus relief oversight Progressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey MORE (D-Mass.) and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioTrump stirs controversy with latest race remarks Vandal dumps red paint on Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Fauci says focus should be on pausing reopenings rather than reverting to shutdowns; WHO director pleads for international unity in pandemic response MORE (D) were the candidates to raise their hands in support of abolishing private health insurance during the first night, and on the second night, Sanders and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMost in new poll say Biden running mate won't influence their vote Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Senators raise concerns over Facebook's civil rights audit MORE (D-Calif.) raised their hands.

--Updated Friday at 2:50 p.m.