A new report says contributions from hospitals and nursing homes to congressional candidates increased nearly 26% in the latest election cycle.
Meanwhile, physicians and other health professionals accounted for the largest dollar increase in donations from any industry, according to the report. The study was conducted by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a congressional watchdog group.
Political action committee donations from physicians and other health professionals grew 21.7%, or more than $1 million, in the 18-month period ended June 30, compared with the same period in the last two-year election cycle.
Hospitals and nursing home PAC contributions increased 25.9%, or nearly $265,000, to about $1.3 million during the 1993-1994 election cycle. Of the contributions from hospitals and nursing homes, nearly 71% went to Democrats.
In all, health-related PACs contributed nearly $9.7 million, more than 60% of which went to Democratic candidates. Individuals and firms involved in the health industry contributed an additional $2.5 million in "soft money," the group said. Soft money refers to donations made not to an individual candidate but to a political party for general purposes. The party then distributes it to candidates. Soft money is not covered by the same limitations as PAC contributions.
According to Larry Makinson, research director for the Center for Responsive Politics, contributions by health industry PACs also grew faster than any other sector in the 1991-1992 election cycle, rising by 36% in 1992 alone.
"I don't expect those numbers to go down any time soon, as long as healthcare reform is not passed," Mr. Makinson said.