Health care fuels first-half lobbying

Hospitals, health plans, Mass General Brigham spend most

THE STATE HOUSE remains closed to the public, but the business of lobbying on Beacon Hill keeps rolling along, particularly in health care.

According to data gathered by Secretary of State William Galvin’s office, lobbying expenditures remained fairly stable in the first six months of this year, with the same players spending roughly the same amount of money they did a year ago and the year before that. 

Health care businesses were the most active, accounting for half of the top 20 spenders. The Massachusetts Health and Hospitals Association spent nearly $440,000 on lobbying over the first six months of the year, followed by the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans ($379,757) and Mass General Brigham ($292,784), the state’s largest hospital system.

Other health care providers in the top 20 were the Massachusetts Nurses Association ($270,904), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ($266,518), the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health ($188,157), the Massachusetts Medical Society ($185,620), Beth Israel Lahey Health ($183,781), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ($175,000), Massachusetts Senior Care Association ($175,000), Cambridge Health Alliance ($169,608), and Children’s Hospital ($167,784). 

Overall, lobbying expenditures by the top 10 spenders in the first half of 2021 were down 4.5 percent, or $128,992, from the same period a year before. 

Health care lobbying is entering an intense period this week, with the House set to debate legislation dealing with hospital expansions, which could affect Mass General Brigham’s plans to open ambulatory care centers in Westborough, Westwood, and Woburn. The Senate is taking up mental health legislation, and the Health Policy Commission is advocating for price caps on some of the state’s larger hospital systems. 

The top 10 lobbying firms on Beacon Hill saw their revenues rise nearly 5 percent in the first half of the year. Smith, Crawford & Costello retained the No. 1 spot with $2.2 million in fees, followed by O’Neill and Partners at $1.6 million. 

ML Strategies ranked No. 3 at $1.47 million, Tremont Strategies was fourth at $1.4 million, Kearney, Donovan & McGee fifth at $1.39 million, Bay State Strategies sixth at $1.2 million, Murphy Donoghue Partners seventh at $1.1 million, and Suffolk Group eighth at $1 million.

Dempsey, Lucey, & Associates, headed by Brian Dempsey, the former chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, moved into the top 10 for the first time at the No. 9 spot with just over $1 million in revenues. Many of the firm’s clients are in health care, including Beth Israel Lahey, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and BMC Health. It is also active on sports betting, representing DraftKings, FanDuel, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the PGA. 

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.

Preti Strategies held on to the tenth spot with fees of $949,900, while Rasky Partners fell out of the top 10, dropping to No. 13. 

The highest-paid individual lobbyists during the first six months of the year were Charles Anthony Stefanini, at $361,534, and Dempsey, at $350,000.