Nancy Pelosi Receives Award from Prominent Hospital Lobbying Group

On April 24th, the second day of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Membership Meeting, Representative Nancy Pelosi was bestowed the 2023 AHA Award of Honor “for her incredible efforts in advancing health care throughout her career.” In a press release, the AHA states that:

The award is given to individuals or organizations in recognition of exemplary contributions to the health and well-being of our nation through leadership on major health policy or social initiatives.

The AHA indicates that Pelosi’s work in assisting the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the Inflation Reduction Act were key contributions she has made to the field of health care.

What Is the American Hospital Association?

The AHA describes itself as a “national organization that represents and serves all types of hospitals, health care networks, and their patients and communities,” which “ensures that members’ perspectives and needs are heard and addressed in national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and judicial matters.”

Other organizations, such as The Lever, are not as ambiguous with their description of the AHA:

The AHA, which raised $129 million in 2021, is a powerful Washington lobbying operation that represents large hospital chains like CommonSpirit Health, Ascension, and Tenet Healthcare.

The Lever also notes that “[the] AHA is part of a health care industry coalition made up of insurers, pharmaceutical firms, and hospital companies that spent $81 million from 2018-21 on a TV and lobbying campaign opposing Medicare for All,” and that this coalition “also fought more limited proposed reforms like a public health insurance plan and efforts to lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 years.”

Open Secrets currently ranks the AHA as being the fourth highest spender on lobbying, having spent over $27 million in 2022 alone. Their political contributions are to both Democrats and Republicans, primarily favoring incumbents.

Other Attendees

Other notable speakers at the meeting included numerous CEOs from health care companies, former President Obama’s Senior Advisor David Axelrod, former President George W. Bush’s Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and former President Trump’s FTC nomination Noah Phillips, as well as a variety of federal representatives: Republican senators Roger Marshall and Todd Young; Democratic senators Mark Warner and Maggie Hassan; Republican representatives Larry Bucshon and Adrian Smith; and Democratic representative Madeleine Dean.

Political Overreach

The AHA appears to have an inordinate amount of influence over politicians and legislation. It props up politicians on both sides of the political aisle, likely in the hopes that the association will incentivize bipartisan behavior which more consistently aligns with their own interests and profits. Having such a disproportionate amount of sway over politicians concentrated into the hands of one organization runs contrary to the democratic principles upon which the United States was founded.

Organizations: American Hospital Association 

People: Nancy Pelosi Noah Phillips David Axelrod Karl Rove Roger Marshall Todd Young Mark Warner Maggie Hassan Larry Bucshon Adrian Smith Madeleine Dean 

Tags: Corruption Lobbying Democracy Health Care 

Type: News