POLITICS

Of course industry-funded Newt backed ObamaCare

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Newt Gingrich's consulting clients in 2009 included the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, and various members of the drug lobby -- all of which in Spring 2009 were publicly on board with the general idea of ObamaCare, which was then in its rough draft.

Despite President Obama's claims that he was battling the special interests, this bill was pretty popular among industry lobbyists. In the end, the drug and hospital lobby supported the bill, and the insurers, while opposing the bill in its final form, loved (1) the insurance subsidies, (2) the individual mandate, and (3) the employer mandate.

So why should anyone be surprised that in the spring of 2009, Gingrich was (A) touting the individual mandate-and-guaranteed issue pairing that his client AHIP had been pitching for months (B) generally supporting the bill, which the drug lobby and the hospitals had backed.

We know that Gingrich has a record of supporting increased government role in health-care while being paid by the industries profiting from that increased role -- that's what he did with Medicare Part D: supported the subsidy while being paid by the drug industry.

Consider Gingrich's work the ethanol industry and support for ethanol subsidies. Or consider his work for Freddie Mac and his support for Government-Sponsored Enterprises. Gingrich's post-speaker career was largely about finding ways for his clients to profit from an increased government role in the economy. ObamaCare was a golden opportunity for such public-policy profiteering.

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