Four of the 10 highest-spending lobbyers for the first half of 2016 were in the health sector, with Blue Cross/Blue Shield occupying the sector’s top spot by a relatively small margin, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The four health-sectors concerns filled spots 3-6 in the overall top 10. Blue Cross/Blue Shield spent almost $12.1 million on lobbying in the first half of the year, putting it just ahead of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which spent $11.8 million. The American Medical Association was next at $11.3 million, followed by the American Hospital Association at $10.9 million, the center reported on OpenSecrets.org.

After those four, the next-highest health-sector spender was Pfizer, which put up almost $6.2 million in lobbying – good for 18th place for the first half of 2016. The health sector itself was the highest spending of the 121 ranked , taking a $266 million bite out of the total $1.6 billion lobbying pie for the year so far, according to the center’s analysis of data downloaded from the Senate Office of Public Records on Aug. 9.

The perennial leading spender on lobbying, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was well ahead of second place, with its $52.3 million more than doubling the $21.4 million spent by the National Association of Realtors. The two groups have finished 1-2 in lobbying spending every year since 2012, and the Chamber of Commerce has been the leading spender since 2001, data on OpenSecrets show.

rfranki@frontlinemedcom.com

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