In the lead-up to Supreme Court arguments over President Obama’s health care law, more than 130 parties filed amicus curiae briefs to the high court. Sixteen of them have disclosed lobbying on health care in the last year.
The high court on Monday opened three days of arguments on the controversial health care law that Obama signed two years ago.
An analysis by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group shows that groups that have lobbied on health care spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying on an array of issues in 2011. Most of the groups that lobbied are supporters of the law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The AFL-CIO spent $29.7 million last year on health and other issues, with additional support from its super PAC, the AFL-CIO Workers’ Voice PAC. The American Hospital Association and AARP spent $13 million and $12 million, respectively.
Groups ranging from the American Cancer Society to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund lobbied in support of health care, as well.
The law's chief opponent was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. With the highest profile on Capitol Hill, the analysis says, the group spent $29.9 million on health care and other major policy issues. The Christian, antiabortion Family Research Council also spent money lobbying against the law.
Several groups that lobbied on health care filed briefs arguing that the law cannot stand if the Supreme Court strikes down its requirement that most individuals buy health-insurance policies. America’s Health Insurance Plan, which spent $6 million lobbying on its issues, said that Congress did not intend for the law to stand without the mandate, which assures that healthy as well as sick people will buy insurance. The National Restaurant Association, which spent $2.1 million on lobbying last year, raised similar concerns.
The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group is part of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which looks into ways to make government more transparent and accountable.