The American Medical Association's pockets were the deepest all-around -- its $8.8 million in lobbying leading all other contributors, health-related or not. The AMA spent $500,000 less during the previous 6 months.
"They [the AMA] traditionally support Republicans in terms of the issues, but when Republicans split with them on the managed care legislation, they probably had to do a lot more outreach to Democrats," Bailey tells WebMD.
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine was a distant second among physician groups, spending more than $1 million in the first 6 months of last year.
Locked in a battle for more generous HMO coverage of emergency room visits, the American College of Emergency Physicians spent more than $800,000, after spending a paltry $20,000 the previous 6 months.
Other heavy health hitters during the first 6 months of '99 were the American Hospital Association ($4 million), the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association ($3.2 million), and pharmaceutical companies Merck ($2.7 million) and Amgen ($2.4 million).
While the American Psychiatric Association spent $120,000, the American Psychological Association spent $270,000. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists spent $600,000; its nemesis, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, spent $860,000.
Don't expect the spending to slow down. "It's a presidential election year, and we're seeing more spending and more contributions on that level," Bailey tells WebMD.