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By Rick Holmes
Nov. 3, 2013 11:15 a.m.

It’s pretty important, and often remarked upon, that the model for Obamacare has Republican roots: Nixon, the Heritage Foundation, Romney. I think it’s more important to understand – and too little remarked upon – that the creation of Obamacare was less a matter of forming bipartisan consensus than a process of getting buy-in from the lobbyists.† The lesson the Clintons learned from the defeat of Hillary’s reforms was that you can’t win if the insurance lobby isn’t on board.† What the Democrats put together in 2008 and 2009 wasn’t driven by getting Republican support (not that they didn’t pursue a figleaf of bipartisanship – witness Max Baucus’ extensive courtship of Olympia Snowe).† The real action was in the effort, led by senator/lobbyist Tom Daschle, to come up with a plan that could be supported by the biggest health care lobbies: insurance companies, hospitals, physicians, drug companies and the AARP.
The big question about the implementation, isn’t whether the Republicans will help – they are much more interested in seeing it fail than succeed – but whether the special interests are committed to making it work.
Meanwhile, my column today urges the 300 million Americans who aren’t directly affected by Obamacare – the people that don’t need to visit a website and don’t have an unqualified individual policy – to take a deep breath and find something else to freak out about.

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