NEWS: Media Outlets Report on Committee's Investigation Into Closed-Door Health Care Negotiations, Policy and Advertising Commitments

June 12, 2012

Editorial: ObamaCare's Secret History
The Wall Street Journal

On Friday House Republicans released more documents that expose the collusion between the health-care industry and the White House that produced ObamaCare, and what a story of crony capitalism it is. If the trove of emails proves anything, it's that the Tea Party isn't angry enough.

Over the last year, the Energy and Commerce Committee has taken Nancy Pelosi's advice to see what's in the Affordable Care Act and how it passed. The White House refused to cooperate beyond printing out old press releases, but a dozen trade groups turned over thousands of emails and other files. A particular focus is the drug lobby, President Obama's most loyal corporate ally in 2009 and 2010...

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Republicans say Obama administration wasn’t transparent on health-care law
The Washington Post
By N.C. Aizenman

House Republicans released a cache of e-mails Friday to point out what they contend were stark contradictions between President Obama’s stated commitment to transparency and the administration’s closed-door negotiations with sectors of the health industry in the lead-up to the 2010 health-care law.

The release — on the heels of another batch of e-mails published last month — culminates a 16-month investigation by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee into how the law was crafted…

More Emails Emerge From 2009 Health Push
The Wall Street Journal
By Alicia Mundy

Newly released emails give an inside look at how the White House got the pharmaceutical industry to pay for millions of dollars in ads in 2009 promoting the president’s controversial health-care overhaul bill.

The emails also show that the money for the ad campaign from drug-industry companies, health-care lobbies and unions went through nonprofit groups that didn’t have to disclose their donors. One such organization, Healthy Economy Now, was created in the spring of 2009 in conjunction with White House officials and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee according to the emails…

Memos Unveil How White House Worked With PhRMA To Sell Obamacare
ABC News
By Kyle Blaine

…The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PhRMA, along with lobbying groups for seniors and consumers, helped fund a reboot of the the iconic “Harry and Louise” television ads that helped sink President Clinton’s efforts to enact health reform.

The updated version, run in 2009 while President Obama’s health care overall was being debated in Congress, employed the same actors arguing in favor of overhauling the health care system. The money for the ads was funneled through two Super PACS organized in part by White House officials, including the deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina.

Top Republican lawmakers claim the ads were paid for as part of a closed-door deal promising drug companies policy concessions worth billions of dollars...

Obama Aides Helped Plan Ads to Back Health Bill, GOP Says
Bloomberg Businessweek
By Drew Armstrong

President Barack Obama’s aides helped plan a $150 million advertising campaign paid for by drug companies to support passage of the 2010 U.S. health-care system overhaul, according to memos provided by Republican lawmakers.

The drugmakers, along with lobbying groups for seniors and consumers, helped fund independent political groups to run the television ads while health-care legislation was being debated in Congress. The groups coordinated with Democratic strategists who worked with Obama’s staff on the effort, according to memos and e-mails among those involved that were released today by Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee...

Obama Was Pushed by Drug Industry, E-Mails Suggest
The New York Times
By Peter Baker

…Mr. Obama’s deal-making in 2009 represented a pivotal moment in his young presidency, a juncture where the heady idealism of the campaign trail collided with the messy reality of Washington policy making. A president who had promised to negotiate on C-Span cut a closed-door deal with a powerful lobby, signifying to disillusioned liberal supporters a loss of innocence, or perhaps even the triumph of cynicism…