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Money flows where health reform goes

July 21, 2009 |  4:16 pm

Money How much would a health-system overhaul cost? How much can the country afford? Those are the two most-often-asked money questions in the ongoing debate about healthcare. But the bucks don't stop there. And they certainly don't start there.

Much is being spent to affect the outcome of the debates. Here are three smart pieces, from today alone, that shed light on those attempts.

From the Washington Post: Industry Cash Flowed to Drafters of Reform

Sen. Max "Baucus's fundraising prowess underscores the enduring political strength of the health-care lobby, which led all other sectors in donations to federal candidates during the last election cycle and has shifted its giving to Democrats as the party has tightened its control of Congress.

The sector gave nearly $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008, with 54 percent going to Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. The shift in parties was even more pronounced during the first three months of this year, when Democrats collected 60 percent of the $5.4 million donated by health-care companies and their employees, the data show."

From CQ Politics: Health Bill: Big Lobbying Fight Means Big Money

"As the health care debate intensifies, the nation’s leading advocacy group for older Americans is ramping up its efforts to influence what goes into the legislation, and spending more to lobby Congress.

'There is no doubt that health care has been the big thing for us this year,' said Jim Dau, a spokesman for AARP. The organization has focused its efforts not just on the debate in Washington but also on lawmakers’ districts around the country, he said."

And from NPR: Dollar Politics: Millions Spent on Ad War Over Health Care Overhaul

"With just a few weeks left for Congress to meet the deadline President Obama set for passing a health care overhaul bill, interest groups have ramped up their TV campaigns. In effect, they're spending millions of dollars to refight the air wars of 15 years ago, when the battlefield was the health care initiative under President Clinton."

It's your insurance, or lack thereof, they're talking about... 

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images