Prescription for Friction

As she heads into her re-election campaign, Clinton's first major goal appears to be universal health coverage for children, which she hopes to advance by expanding the State Health Insurance Program, an existing federal program up for review in 2007. She has hired as her domestic policy adviser Laurie Rubiner, a health policy expert who for many years worked for the late Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I.

John McCain: To appeal to fiscal conservatives, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., touts his vote against the Medicare drug law. He is a longtime champion of an HMO "patients' bill of rights," although that issue has been dormant in Congress since negotiations fell apart early in Bush's first term.

Mitt Romney: Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., has won national notice for signing into law a state health-care plan that combines an individual mandate with insurance market reforms and subsidies for the poor and near-poor, to buy coverage. Over his line-item veto, the legislature approved a fee -- up to $295 per worker -- on employers with 11 or more workers, who don't provide insurance.

Even though the Massachusetts plan passed with the support of the state's Democratic legislature and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., the AFL-CIO is vigorously opposed to it, believing that it asks too little of employers and too much of working families who are too rich to qualify for subsidized health care but too poor to afford it on their own.

FACTOIDS:

Health Care Industry Lobbying Statistics (1998-2005)

*Since 1998, drug companies have spent $758 million on lobbying -- more than any other industry (according to government records analyzed by the Center for Public Integrity -- a watchdog group)

*The Health Care industry has 1,274 lobbyists in Washington, D.C. (there a more than two lobbyists for every member of Congress) http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/drugs/2005-04-25-drug-lobby-cover_x.htm

*$266 million was spent on lobbying throughout the entire health care industry in 2005 (i.e. pharmaceuticals/health products, insurance, and hospitals/nursing homes) http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/overview.asp?showyear=2005&txtindextype=i

Pharmaceutical Industry Lobbying Statistics (1998-2005)

*Amount spent on lobbying: $675 million

*Lobbyists: 3,009

*Former officials who registered to lobby: 1,014

*Former members of Congress who lobbied: 75

*Bills lobbied: More than 1,600

http://www.publicintegrity.org/rx/report.aspx?aid=723

Special Interest Groups Involved in Health Care

*Big Business

*National Federation of Independent Businesses (small businesses)

*Labor Unions

*American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL -- CIO)

*Change to Win (coalition of American labor unions formed as an alternative to AFL -- CIO)

*Families USA (consumers)

*American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

*Health Insurance Association of America (insurance companies)

*American Medical Association (AMA - doctors)

*American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA)

*Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA)

*American Hospital Association

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