BY SEAN MCMINN AND RYAN KELLY
As health care came to the forefront this year in Washington, groups focused on the issue continued using their political action committees to attempt to influence the debate.
Though there was no sharp pickup in spending this year, these PACs have already spent millions of dollars in 2017, according to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission at the end of last month.
During the first half of the year, the 34 health-care related political action committees that contributed at least $500,000 in the previous two-year election cycle have spent a combined $69 million.
Though Republicans control both chambers of Congress, their relatively narrow seat advantage in the Senate meant they would need to use a process called reconciliation to advance a health care overhaul to the floor.
Through the process, four committees were instructed to begin the process of writing legislation — Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Senate Finance; House Energy and Commerce; and House Ways and Means — theoretically placing each of the committees’ chairs in a place of power.
Instead, party leadership controlled much of the legislative planning process.
Correction: The August 8 print version of this report incorrectly doubled the monthly average amounts of health care industry spending from 2009-2014. It has been corrected for this online version.