Policy-ish

Health Lobbying Bonanza Makes For Strange Bedfellows

Money talks.

hide captionMoney talks.

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The historic passage of legislation revamping the nation's system of health insurance and care sure has prompted a lot of superlatives, including our favorite about what a big deal it all is, courtesy of Vice President Biden.

In Washington, it's pretty clear the protracted debate prompted a lobbying "bonanza" that one close watcher of the scene called "unprecedented" in an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. The tab in 2009: $1.2 billion.

Who paid what to whom? There's a handy chart here to break it down for some of the biggest lobbying firms.

We were struck by some of the strange bedfellows.

Bryan Cave counted drugmaker AstraZeneca and the American Academy of Family Physicians among its clients.

Dutko Worldwide went to bat for the brand-name trade group PhRMA and mega-health insurer UnitedHealth Group, whose interests are sometimes at odds.

Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti worked the corridors of power for the Mayo Clinic and Merck, a little New Jersey company that makes pills and vaccines.

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal represented the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Guess everybody needs a lobbyist when overhaul is on the line.

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