Heaviest lobbying by health care firms

Partners HealthCare led the way, spending $683,520 on lobbying

health care firms, led by hospital systems and insurance companies, spent the most money on Beacon Hill lobbying activities in 2013.

Partners HealthCare, which owns Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is in the midst of a battle with state regulators over its expansion plans, was the top dog, spending $683,520 on lobbying.

The top six lobbying outlays all came from firms involved with health care, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, and Steward Health Care, a for-profit hospital system. Maximus, a Virginia company that won a big Medicaid contract last year, also broke into the top 10.

Nearly every hospital system in the state spent more than $100,000 on lobbying, including Children’s Hospital ($321,661), Tenet Health Care ($239,000), UMass Memorial Health Care ($182,652), Boston Medical Center ($159,200), and Lahey Health ($128,671).

According to records on file with the Secretary of State’s office, the 10 companies or organizations that spent the most on lobbying last year shelled out just over $5 million. That total was down from 2011, when the top 10 spent a total of $5.5 million. In all, 123 companies spent $100,000 or more on lobbying in 2013, for a total of nearly $23 million.

While health care companies were the best represented among the top spenders, many other firms were active on Beacon Hill. Wynn Resorts, which is seeking approval to build a casino in Everett, spent $430,479 on lobbying, while Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the company pursuing a casino license in Revere, spent $191,616. MGM Resorts, seeking a license in Springfield, spent $150,000. KG Urban Enterprises, looking to build in New Bedford, spent $139,800.

Keolis, the French company that won a $2.8 billion, eight-year contract to run the MBTA’s commuter rail operations, spent $300,000 on lobbying, beating out the $179,000 spent by its rival, Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail, and one of the partners of the ousted management firm, Veolia Transportation.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Most of the other companies writing big checks for lobbying on Beacon Hill had familiar names, since they tend do business with or are heavily regulated by the state. But there were some unusual companies popping up among the leaders.

Medbox, an Arizona company that offers technology to securely dispense medications such as marijuana, spent $144,000 on lobbying. The Boston Foundation, the philanthropic organization, spent $241,419 on lobbying activities. Boston Beer, the maker of Samuel Adams, spent $187,000. Two wind energy companies—First Wind of Boston and Deepwater Wind of Providence—spent $137,226 and $120,000, respectively. Just Energy of Chelsea, a retailer selling electricity and natural gas, spent $120,000.