With Drug Costs In Crosshairs, Health Firms Gave Generously To Trump’s Inauguration

Kaiser Health News, April 20, 2017

trump-jan20

By Jay Hancock and Sydney Lupkin and Elizabeth Lucas 

This story was originally published on Kaiser Health News on April 19, 2017.

Drugmaker Pfizer gave $1 million to help finance the inauguration, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Amgen, another pharmaceutical company, donated $500,000. Health insurers Anthem, Centene and Aetna all gave six-figure contributions.

Facing acute risks to their businesses from Washington policymakers, health companies spent more than $2 million to buy access to the incoming Trump administration via candlelight dinners, black-tie balls and other inauguration events, new filings show.

Drugmaker Pfizer gave $1 million to help finance the inauguration, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Amgen, another pharmaceutical company, donated $500,000. Health insurers Anthem, Centene and Aetna all gave six-figure contributions.

They joined a surge of corporate donors from multiple industries to break inauguration-finance records even as then-President-elect Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington influence-peddling.

But the stakes for the health industry were especially high as the new administration prepared to take power.

Two weeks before Pfizer’s donation, Trump told Time magazine: “I’m going to bring down drug prices.” At the same time, one of his top goals was repealing Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act — and its billions in subsidies for insurance companies and hospitals.

Also writing checks for the inauguration were drugmaker Abbott Laboratories, drug wholesaler Caremark, insurer MetLife and Managed Care of North America, a dental benefits manager.

Trump’s inaugural committee raised $107 million, more than twice as much as for any previous presidential investiture. President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration held the previous record of $53 million.

Obama banned corporate donations that year and limited individual donations to $50,000 but accepted corporate grants for his 2013 inauguration.

Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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