A memorandum released by the House Energy & Commerce Committee yesterday has brought to light new details about the backroom deals that were struck between the White House and pharmaceutical industry that facilitated the passage of ObamaCare – over the objections of the American people. The memo documents findings from the committee’s ongoing investigation to determine whether specific policy outcomes were granted by the Obama administration in exchange for a multi-billion dollar ad campaign supporting enactment of ObamaCare. Emails obtained by the committee thus far confirm that the White House did, in fact, engage in secret, backroom negotiations with industry representatives, and did so with blatant disregard for President Obama’s promise of openness and transparency. Here’s more:
- “Insider Deal Making with a Powerful Special Interest” “The disclosures provide further evidence that once in office, Obama tossed aside his promises to be transparent and stand up to special interest groups. … Taken together, the emails paint a picture of insider deal making with a powerful special interest – something that stands in stark contrast to Obama’s campaign pledges.” (Washington Examiner, 5/31/12)
- “Unpublicized Deals from the Administration” That Both Sides “Repeatedly Denied at the Time” “The emails show that drug makers won other unpublicized deals from the administration, which both the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby repeatedly denied at the time but were later disclosed in news reports. They included a promise from the White House not to demand that drug makers negotiate Medicare prices with the federal government, which could have reduced drug costs. At one point, the White House threatened to shame the industry publicly if the negotiations fell apart, according to an email written June 10 by a PhRMA lobbyist.” (The Wall Street Journal, 5/31/12)
- “Cut Deals with Interests Groups in Order to Ram Through an Unpopular Bill” “‘Upon closer look, it is clear President Obama has broken his promise to the American people by reverting to backroom deals in order to pass a health care law that we can’t afford and the American people don’t want,’ Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said of the committee report. ‘It has taken over two years, but the American people are finally able to get a glimpse at how the health care law was written,’ said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. ‘These internal documents quite simply confirm that the White House cut deals with interests groups in order to ram through an unpopular bill.’” (Politico, 5/31/12)
- “Agreed to Run a ‘Very Significant Public Campaign’ Bankrolling Political Support” “Drugmakers led by Pfizer (PFE) Inc. agreed to run a ‘very significant public campaign’ bankrolling political support for the 2010 health-care law, including TV ads, while the Obama administration promised to block provisions opposed by drugmakers, documents released by Republicans show. The internal memos and e-mails for the first time unveil the industry's plan to finance positive TV ads and supportive groups, along with providing $80 billion in discounts and taxes that were included in the law. The administration has previously denied the existence of a deal involving political support.” (Bloomberg, 5/31/12)
- “Jammed to Make This Announcement So the Story Takes a Positive Turn” “During the next week, Obama suffered what the PhRMA lobbyists described as a politically difficult week. … ‘It’s pretty clear that the Administration has had a horrible week on health care reform, and we are now getting jammed to make this announcement so the story takes a positive turn before the Sunday talk shows beat up on Congress and the White House,’ he [Ken Johnson, PhRMA’s senior VP for public relations] said.” (Roll Call, 5/31/12)
- “Part of the GOP Campaign to Fully Repeal the Legislation” “The staff report and the release of emails are part of the GOP campaign to fully repeal the legislation. Republicans say the emails show that the White House routinely ignored Obama'’ promise to openly negotiate health care legislation.” (Associated Press, 5/31/12)
The Energy & Commerce committee investigation is part of a broader effort on the part of House Republicans to hold the Obama administration accountable for its policies that are hurting the economy and making it harder to create jobs. The House will take its 30th vote to repeal, defund and dismantle ObamaCare next week, repealing the medical device tax that will destroy an estimated 43,000 American jobs. While industry lobbyists may be confident they “got a good deal” on ObamaCare, the American people did not, and Republicans will continue fighting to repeal the job-destroying law in its entirety.