Nov. 6, 2006 – As the cost of health care continues to rise, health-care related industries stand to influence key races in Tuesdayâ€™s election by pouring millions of dollars behind Republican and Democratic candidates.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, DC-based research group that tracks money and politics, the insurance, health professionals and pharmaceutical industries ranked in the 20 top biggest campaign contributors, spending more than $53 million combined this election cycle.
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) was the top recipient of the health professional industry â€“ which includes associations of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. She brought in $586,807, followed by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) with $483,670 and Representative Tom Price (R-Georgia) with $455,675.
Health professional industries, including the American Dental Association, American Medical Association and American Society of Anesthesiologists, have consistently given Republicans more money since 1996. This year, 65 percent of industry contributions â€“ or about $24.9 million â€“ went to GOP candidates.
Similarly, companies like AFLAC Inc, Independent Insurance Agents of America and Blue Cross Blue Shield, gave 67 percent of the total insurance industry contributions to Republican candidates â€“ a total of nearly $15.7 million. Democrats received about $7.8 million.
Pfizer Inc. was the top drug company contributor, giving more than $1.3 million to candidates, 70 percent of which went to Republicans. Other top donors in the pharmaceutical industry included GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. The entire pharmaceutical industry gave more than $10.1 million to Republicans and more than $4.4 million to Democrats.
The Center estimates that candidates, political parties and advocacy groups of all industries will spend about $2.8 billion by the end of 2006 on the 472 federal races across the United States.