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You'll find that few Congressional Democrats supported the central element of the Medicare Part D legislation.

... oh yeah, the Donkeys are virgin pure on this one ... NOT!

March 29, 2010

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Drug lobby's health care win

Associated Press Writer

Chalk one up for the pharmaceutical lobby. The U.S. drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Barack Obama's health care law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage.

Drugmakers gained an eleventh-hour win when lawmakers decided against expanding drug discounts to some hospitals serving low-income patients, a proposal some feared could cost tens of billions. The overhaul law that Obama signed Tuesday would have broadened those discounts to inpatients, but the companion bill revising the earlier measure largely pulled that back.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus, said in an interview last week that as a trade-off for rolling back that expansion, the drug industry agreed to provide an additional $10 billion over a decade to help close the gap in Medicare coverage.

As for what Democrats gained from their ally, the industry and coalitions it joined spent about $67 million on supportive TV ads since the beginning of 2009, according to Evan Tracey, president of Kantar CMAG, which tracks political ads. That made it one of the biggest players in an airwaves battle that saw all sides spend $220 million.
Pharmaceutical interests spent $188 million lobbying last year, more than all but a handful of industry sectors, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. They employed an army of 1,105 lobbyists.

And after years of funneling most of its campaign contributions to Republicans, the industry has favored Democrats with 56 percent of the $5 million it has handed candidates so far this year. The biggest recipient, by far, of the industry's 2008 election cycle contributions of $13.8 million was Obama, who received $1.2 million for his presidential campaign.

"They're certainly going to get a very high return on that investment," Waxman said in a recent interview.
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