President 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 disclose visits by a broad cross-section of the people most involved in the health care debate, weighted heavily toward those who want to overhaul the system.
The list includes George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Health Plans; Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; Kenneth Kies, a Washington lobbyist who represents Blue Cross/Blue Shield, among other clients; Billy Tauzin, head of PhRMA, the drug industry lobby; Richard Umbdenstock, chief of the American Hospital Association, and numerous lobbyists.
In fact, this story is only important because Obama promised to end such practices in his
White House. He made a point of telling the country that the influence of lobbyists would be ended in his administration. Clearly, that's not happening.