Anatomy of a Lobby

When President Obama pushed his $787 billion stimulus package through Congress, a key provision was a $36.5 billion investment in electronic health records that the White House said was crucial to long term health care reform. The sudden infusion of cash into electronic records came only after years of intensive lobbying from the relevant industries, The Washington Post reports, which funded research and carefully cultivated allies in order to build a case in political circles for the spending package. But their success also pushed aside criticisms from various circles who argued that the potential savings promised by the industry were overly optimistic. "It was perhaps a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make something happen," said H. Stephen Lieber, the president of the trade group behind the push, tells The Post. Obama "identified the vehicle that he could use to move his policy agenda forward without the crippling policy debate."