“President Barack Obama’s top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press…

“The records list the kinds of people usually involved in Washington policymaking: business, union and trade association executives, lobbyists and political strategists. Wednesday’s disclosure was significant because of Obama’s campaign promise to change business as usual in Washington, and because he voluntarily released records showing the access of special interests as the administration crafted national health care policy.”

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“The Senate Republicans’ chart demonstrates that the total for all of these costs — based on CBO projections for the bill’s true first 10 years — is $2.5 trillion. And costs would only skyrocket from there, as the chart’s trajectory suggests. In the 5 years to follow (2024-28), spending on “expansions in insurance coverage” alone would be $1.7 trillion, making the bill’s total costs in its real first 15 years well over $4 trillion — based on CBO projections.”

chart

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“The Democrats sincerely believe that nationalized health care, in one form or another, is the best thing for America, and that if they can get it passed, voters will fall in love with it. Politically, there is a real danger they’re right. Americans are loath to relinquish entitlements once they’ve secured them. That’s the Republicans’ gamble.

“Then again, Democrats run the very serious risk that before the imagined joys of health-care reform can be realized, voters will revolt over its tax hikes, massive Medicare cuts, increased bureaucracy, and/or its budget-exploding costs. That’s the Democrats’ gamble.

“Some moderate Democrats are making a side bet that they can vote for it out of solidarity and then run back to the center come the 2010 elections.

“Well, I say let it ride. And just to make it more interesting, Republicans should promise to repeal ‘Obamacare’ if they get a congressional majority in 2010. As National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru argues, that way moderate Democrats won’t be able to run away from their votes come 2010. They’ll be on notice that this will be the campaign issue of the election. And moderate Republicans will be on notice to resist the temptation to tinker with Obamacare rather than defenestrate it once it’s passed.”

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