The Spectacle Blog

Big Pharma and Obamacare

By on 8.4.11 | 11:26AM

When it comes to lobbying power, Big Oil has nothing on the drug industry.

In fact, as Tim Carney writes in The Washington Examiner, since the start of Obama's presidency, "the drug industry's $635 million lobbying tab exceeds that of Wall Street and the oil and gas industry, combined." Carney also reports that Big Pharma spent more than any other industry on lobbying in the period from 1998-2011, with expenditures totaling $2.2 billion.

Not only that, but in every year from 1999-2011, the health/pharmaceuticals sector was the top lobbying sector in the US, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

So maybe we shouldn't have been too surprised when the Obama administration announced that all health insurance providers would soon be required to provide first dollar coverage for birth control (including so-called "abortion pills") under the guise of "preventive care." After all, this is essentially a huge subsidy for birth control manufacturers: As of August 2012, all insurance plans must cover their products and virtually all citizens must buy those insurance plans.

Planned Parenthood-- which, interestingly enough, was invited to contribute to deliberations about whether birth control should be defined as a preventive service, and thus be mandated by Obamacare-- also stands to benefit from this subsidy. According to Carney, Planned Parenthood has partnered with drug companies for profit in the past, including the makers of the "Plan B pill," which is covered under the HHS's new regulations.

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