Massachusetts healthcare industry spends record $19M lobbying

Massachusetts' healthcare industry spent a record $19 million on lobbying in 2014, nearly twice as much as it spent less than 10 years ago, according to an Associated Press report in the Boston Herald.

The AP reviewed lobbying reports filed with the state secretary's office, pinpointing the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans as the biggest spender. The group, which represents 17 insurers, spent $1.05 million. The Massachusetts Hospital Association spent $882,470 and Steward Health Care was next up with $674,541. Academic medicine giant Partners HealthCare System spent $644,715. (See the AP's full listing of the top-spending organizations.)

Lobbying reports cover a range of expenses, including salaries for lobbyists, office costs, public relations, telephone bills and technology, according to the report.  

The combined $19 million last year spent by hospitals, insurers, physicians, unions and pharmaceutical companies is a leap for lobbying spending. In 2007, the industry spent $10.8 million.

Officials with lobbying organizations told the AP there is more political activity affecting healthcare, warranting greater involvement. An executive vice president with the MHA said nearly one-in-five of the 6,000 or more bills filed on Beacon Hill touch healthcare.

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