Congress Showers Health Care Industry With Multibillion-Dollar Victory After Wagging Finger At It For Much Of 2019

In Economy, Healthcare On

Vilified by lawmakers from both parties for months, the health-care industry this year appeared to face an existential threat to its business model.

But this week, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurance companies and medical device manufacturers practically ran the table in Congress, winning hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks and other gifts through old-fashioned lobbying, re-exerting their political prowess.

“It’s the ‘no special interest left behind bill’ of 2019. That’s what it feels like this is,” said Andy Slavitt, a former health administrator who served in the Obama administration. “There’s no other explanation.”

Support came from virtually every corner of Congress.

A bipartisan push to curb the practice of surprise medical billing was delayed until next year, with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) working behind the scenes to raise objections to the package, according to three people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private negotiations.

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