May 2024 | Publication

The Insider’s Guide to America’s Health Care Wars

Baron’s landmark report explores how different types of health care companies are competing to shape the largest sector of the U.S. economy.  An accompanying database tracks the funding of more than 600 health care advocacy groups.

Report Executive Summary:

  1. In “America’s Health Care Wars,” different types of companies with clashing business models are using government as a tool for commercial competition.  Commercial interests are the motivation behind many health care policy proposals, which often benefit certain industry business models over others.  Understanding different types of health care business models is key to understanding which interests are shaping health care policy proposals and, as a result, how to evaluate those proposals.
  1. Many health care policy debates – and the various advocacy efforts to influence them – are assessed literally, when in fact they are proxies for different commercial tensions.  Industry interests supporting patient advocacy groups and professional associations are sometimes not made clear in congressional testimonies and in health care reporting.  Baron has identified approximately 600 such advocacy groups that receive funding from some of America’s largest health care companies.
  1. The pharmacy sector battle – pitting pharmaceutical manufacturers (with their allies, drug wholesalers) against pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) – is a revealing case study on the clashes between health care companies in Washington.  This battle dominates current political spending in the sector and embodies how health care companies deploy “surrogates” and position themselves as pro-patient, among other tactics, to bolster their appeal to law makers and the media.
  2. Philanthropic foundations, which spend more to influence health care policy than even the largest companies, work “upstream” from conventional policy debates.  Their “Super Power” role in driving issue trends and setting the boundaries of health care policy discourse is significantly underappreciated.

To access the database and download the full report: