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The Associated Press August 19, 2010, 2:35PM ET

Insurer trade group spends $2.3 M on 2Q lobbying

The trade association America's Health Insurance Plans ratcheted down its federal lobbying spending in the second quarter, which started shortly after Congress passed health care reform that aims to cover millions of people but promises many changes and restrictions for insurers.

The association known as AHIP spent about $2.3 million in the three months that ended June 30, a 15-percent drop from the $2.7 million it spent in the first quarter. But the association's spending represented a 22-percent increase from the nearly $1.9 million it spent in the second quarter of 2009.

Even though reform passed, AHIP still lobbied on the law as Congress considered details of the massive bill. The association lobbied on coverage expansions, cost containment, prevention and wellness programs, according to a report filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives.

It also lobbied on several Medicaid and Medicare issues, generic drug access and on subsidies for the continuation of health insurance under the law known as COBRA for people who leave jobs. Insurers have said COBRA is a money-losing business because people who keep the coverage generate more in claims than they contribute in premiums.

Aside from Congress and the White House, AHIP also lobbied the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, the Internal Revenue Service, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury.

Among those lobbying for the insurer was Mary Donahue, a former employee of the office of the Health and Human Services secretary.

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