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The Unhealthy Politics of Pork: How It Increases Your Medical Costs

No industry in America spends more on lobbying than health care.

In 2016, the health care industry spent half a billion dollars on lobbying, with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and health professionals making the largest contributions. In 2009, the year the Affordable Care Act was debated, health care lobbying exceeded $550 million. (Last year, by comparison, defense lobbying totaled $129 million, and the gun lobby spent just $10.5 million.)

Closely related to industry lobbying is the political maneuvering that congressional leaders use in an effort to pass legislation — specifically, targeted provisions known as earmarks, “sweeteners” or pork barrel spending.

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