NEWS / VIDEO: Fox Business Reports on Committee's Investigation Into Closed-Door Health Meetings

April 27, 2011

Watch the video HERE

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FOX BUSINESS: GOP Steps Up Probe of White House Health-Reform Meetings

GOP members of the powerful U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee have stepped up their probe of secret back-room negotiations and quid pro quo deals struck in health reform, after the White House stonewalled requests for detailed information and documents and only submitted a handful of press releases and a list of staffers in the health-reform czar's office, Congressional sources tell FOX Business.

Energy and commerce officials have largely stopped asking the Administration for information and instead are now targeting 12 interest groups and unions "identified by the White House as having been at the White House during the secret health care negotiations," and who played a key role in crafting the reform legislation, the committee says.

The dozen now targeted is up from an initial six groups.

At the center of the controversy are quid pro quo deals the Administration struck with unions and interest groups to either guarantee their backing or blunt any criticism of the new health-reform bill.

The committee also notes it wants more information about off-campus meetings at local coffee shops and in area row houses between Administration officials and the 12 interest groups and unions, so as to purportedly circumvent disclosure via the White House visitor logs, which are kept by the Secret Service.

The committee members sent letters requesting detailed information about lists of attendees, minutes of the meetings, emails, phone logs and estimates of health reform's financial impact, as well as other documents, to AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AARP, AdvaMed, American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, American Medical Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Business Roundtable, Federation of American Hospitals, PhRMA, and SEIU....

FBN's Rich Edson reported last week that these letters had been sent.

Now there is talk of hearings being planned and subpoenas possibly being sent.

The same panel is probing controversial health-reform waivers given by the Administration to more than 1,000 companies and unions to help them cover workers via cheap insurance plans until reform kicks in, beginning in 2013.

"The American public was not properly represented during the Executive Branch's frenzied backroom wheeling and dealing that circumvented the legislative process in order to pass the massive health overhaul," GOP Committee members tell FBN. ...

Read the full story HERE.

Read more about the Committee's ongoing investigation HERE....