Alaska Senators Receive More Than $500,000 from Health Industry
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - December 16, 2009 - According to a new study completed by the Alaska Center for Public Policy, Alaska's senators, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, are among federal legislators receiving large contributions from industries in the health sector. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who has been in the United States Senate since 2002, was recently appointed to the Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee, a committee frequently targeted by health sector lobbyists.
As of November 23, 2009, she has received $397,333 from the health sector throughout her entire congressional career. Senator Murkowski's top direct health contributors are Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Pfizer Inc., the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Since his election in 2008, Senator Begich has received a total of $115,733 in health sector contributions from the four health sector industries (not including other health interest contributions). The Alaska Heart Institute, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American College of Radiology represent three of the health sector contributors from the health professionals industry.
A recent report shows that major healthcare interests have spent 1.4 million dollars per day this year, lobbying Congress. Political action committees and individuals associated with industries in the health sector, each of which are intimately involved in the nation's ongoing health care reform debate, have donated more to federal candidates during the second quarter of 2009 than the first quarter of this year, according to an analysis done by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Among the highest increases was the Health Services/HMOs industry, which includes health insurance companies, with a spending increase of 37 percent during the second quarter of 2009. The health sector spent more than any other sector lobbying to Congress during the second quarter of this year as well, spending $133 million. Within the health sector, the pharmaceutical/health products industry ranked the highest, with $68 million going to lobbying in the second quarter alone.
A copy of the complete study, Health Industry Contributions to Alaska's Congressional Senators, is available on line.
The Alaska Center for Public Policy (ACPP), is Alaska's independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank. The Center is committed to the development of public policies and programs that improve the economic and social wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. The Center focuses on sound solutions to the challenges faced by low- and moderate-income Alaskans. We celebrate the diversity of heritage and lifestyle in Alaska because every community is important.
The Center pursues its public policy mission through independent research, analysis, policy development, advocacy, public education, and technical assistance. Our goal is to expand rather than duplicate the extent to which these activities are currently being addressed in Alaska. The Center informs policymakers, the media, and the public about the importance of fair and equitable public policies, fiscal policies, and tax policies. We strive to provide interested citizens, elected officials, and community leaders with timely and accurate information so that they can become more active and effective participants in public policy debates and decisions.