Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Brian Beutler reports on the GOP stocking up on health insurance lobbyists in order to find a way to dismantle health care reform.

House Republicans are turning to old friends on K Street to lead their legislative attempts to repeal the new health care law. 

Three recently hired Republican aides -- two set to work in senior positions on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, and one for soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner -- spent the past years lobbying on behalf of insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other corporate interest groups with a vested interest in weakening or repealing the law.

Two weeks ago, incoming Energy and Commerce chair Fred Upton announced he'd hired Gary Andres to be his staff director. 

"For over two decades, Gary has been a leading voice in Republican policy, always seeking solutions to advance our principles to limit the size and scope of government," Upton said in a statement at the time.
Andres served as Vice Chairman of Public Policy and Research for Dutko Worldwide, where, according to congressional public disclosure forms, he lobbied for insurance giant UnitedHealth Group and for a corporate umbrella organization called the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform.

The coalition's website is now defunct, but you can view an archive of its homepage here and of its membership here

It looks like the GOP may be using these former lobbyists to take a scalpel to the health care reform measure rather than the flamethrower they promised during the campaign season, but the goal of making the law DOA before additional provisions can take effect remains the same.

That's probably not enough to satisfy Tea Party types eager to get in on the "defund and shutdown" action.  House Republicans who don't move fast enough to torch legislation passed in the first two years of Obama's term may not be back in 2013.

Still, I can see why House Republicans are doing this.  They basically want to replace the Obama legislation with their own version of it, and they're going to need surgeons, not demolition men.

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