The nation’s largest health-care corporations gave at least $61 million directly to political campaigns, nonprofits, ballot initiatives, and trade associations during 2017, according to a MapLight analysis of newly released data.
The data, compiled by the Center for Political Accountability, show the health-care giants gave $37 million alone in donations to political trade association heavyweights that included the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA); U.S. Chamber of Commerce; America’s Health Insurance Plans; and the Healthcare Leadership Council.
The data underscore the political obstacles that advocates of health-care reform face. Virtually all of the 104 trade associations that received corporate funds from the health-care giants in 2017 oppose a larger role for the federal government in providing health insurance, even though a comfortable majority of Americans support a single-payer health-care system. Health-care reform advocates will likely continue to be outspent in the wake of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that essentially gave the green light to corporations to flood political campaigns with unlimited amounts of money.
On top of the trade association contributions, health-care giants spent at least $11 million to influence ballot initiatives, and $6.6 million went to political nonprofit organizations. About $4.9 million was given directly to political candidates, and the remaining amount, almost $2.2 million, was given to “dark money” social welfare organizations.
The Center for Political Accountability, a research organization based in Washington, D.C., has pressured major corporations to adopt transparent policies for their political contributions. Not all corporations disclose their political contributions. The nonprofit was able to obtain political contribution disclosures for295 of the nation’s largest 500 corporations in 2017,…