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AHIP Launches Health Spending App, Sandy Spoils the Party AHIP Launches Health Spending App, Sandy Spoils the Party

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Influence

AHIP Launches Health Spending App, Sandy Spoils the Party

Sandy's disruptive wrath may have forced America's Health Insurance Plans to cancel plans yesterday for a coming-out party honoring its new iPad app, but health wonks can still download and play with the new toy as they wait for Washington to recover from the hurricane.

The U.S. Health Care Spending 101 app makes data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office available in one spot. The app displays only interactive info-graphics, no dense reports or documents here. 

Screen shot 2012-10-30 at 12.49.59 PM.png
Who'll be using the app? Lobbyists on the Hill and in the states as well as AHIP members, says the group's spokesman Robert Zirkelbach. Imagine a lobbyist talking to a member of Congress about a provision of the 2010 health care law that he or she is lobbying against. That's where the app comes in, Zirkelbach said, helping to provide data for arguments.

While AHIP has very clear positions on the Affordable Care Act, opposing minimum coverage requirements for instance, the group took a just-the-facts-ma'am approach to the app, Zirkelbach said.

"The app doesn't have editorial language in it. ... The data can speak for itself," he said. 

AHIP has been a heavy hitter in the lobbying world on health issues. Lobbying expenditures this year are approaching $5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the past three years, though, the group spent nearly $10 million a year on advocacy, according to the center.

Image: Screengrab from AHIP

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