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Healthcare PACs Tilt Toward GOP

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 1, 2012

Physicians and others in healthcare are flooding GOP coffers with money for congressional and senate campaigns. And individual healthcare contributors are giving more money to President Obama than each of the Republican candidates.

Confusing?

How about this? Some of the heavyweight physician political action committees (PACs) obviously are interested in the outcome of the presidential race. But they don't funnel a dime into the presidential campaigns.

Yes, it's political season, and contradictions litter the landscape.

The political spending this time around comes while physicians' diagnoses of the healthcare business in America isn't great. That's reflected in the HealthLeaders Media Industry 2012 survey (PDF) which shows that at least 53% of physician leaders say that healthcare is on the wrong track. And 36% say that government is to blame for the healthcare industry mess, with 26% saying government laws and mandates are among the top three drivers of healthcare costs.

That's a lot of dissatisfaction in the wake of the healthcare reform initiated by President Obama. Those complaints are reflected in funding choices revealed in healthcare campaign financing reports—particularly among physician PACs—filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Some 97 healthcare professional PACS, which include physician organizations, have contributed $8.9 million to federal campaigns, with $5.2 million (59%) directed to Republicans and $3.6 million (41%) to Democrats, according to FEC figures released this month and compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, and reviewed by HealthLeaders Media. The center is a non-partisan, non-profit group based in Washington D.C. that tracks campaign spending. 

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