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Birth of the Republicrat: Bi-partian operatives under Reid and McConnel worked with lobbyist to fulfill healthcare industry wishes

Andrew Zajac @ Tribune Newspapers: David Nexon had a big problem. An early version of national health care legislation contained a $40 billion tax aimed squarely at members of the medical device trade association he represents.

Nexon, a former adviser to the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, went to work. He marshaled 14 people like himself -- lobbyists who were once congressional aides, many of them from staffs of congressional leaders or committees that had a hand in crafting the health care overhaul.

When Senate Democrats unveiled their bill in mid-November, Nexon's handiwork was evident. The tax on device-makers was still large -- $20 billion -- but only half what it might have been without the efforts of Nexon and his fellow lobbyists.

Nexon's team is an illustration of how deeply the health care industry has embedded itself on Capitol Hill, using former aides of lawmakers and ex-lawmakers themselves. Read more.

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