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Caution: Congress at work

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By Lee Hamilton

If you’ve ever wondered what members of Congress do to earn their keep, the current health-care debate on Capitol Hill should give you a good idea. This complex legislation, placed on the congressional agenda by President Obama but shaped by the intense give-and-take of the legislative process, is a perfect window into our democracy.

It’s sheer ambition — to remake one of the key drivers of our economy and to make health care both more affordable and more accessible to Americans — means that it will leave hardly a person, business or organization untouched. The stakes are huge, from corporations’ profitability, to how doctors practice, to the heart of families’ pocketbooks.

That is why so many ordinary Americans and so many lobbying groups — from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to small businesses to health insurers to AARP and, of course, the American Medical Association — are intent on having their say in what is taking place on Capitol Hill.


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