During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised that his administration would bring transparency back into the forefront of the federal government. This promise seemed to have come up short relatively early.
It was in 2009, the first full year of Barack Obama’s term, that the White House decided to have closed-door meetings and sessions in regards to health care legislation.
The Republican leadership within the House Energy and Commerce Committee released several emails that showed that the pharmaceutical industry and the heath care lobbying sector were in constant contact with The White House.
Here is an email sample of the May 2009 dialogue that occurred between lobbyists and The White House:
From: Rick Smith:
Thursday, May 14. 2009 11:53 PM Bryant Hall: Mimi Simooeaux Kneuer
To: Subject: re: Urgent- Read this-holy cow… Pear and IHP articles
Yup. which is the key point and where I’m going to try stay focused. And between this fiasco and the Republican leadership letter, not clear this group maintains current plan of operation. That said, WH will be in full damage control mode, whicl1 I assume will mean go on the assault, so like I said, buckle up.
- Original Message~ — From: Bryant Hall TQ: Rick Smith: Mimi Simoneau,” Knauer Sent: Thu May 14 23:46:32 2009 Subject: Re: Urgent-Read this-holy cow…. Pear and IHP articles
Perfect time to cut our deal w the White House as this is swirling.
Jennifer Haberkorn, a reporter for POLITICO, which is no bastion for conservatism and more left-leaning, takes a lead on these negotiations. “In one email exchange obtained by the committee, a pharmaceutical executive said that then-White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had suggested he would publicly call out PhRMA if it didn’t sign to the deal. Another exchange says the White House threatened to use the president’s radio address to call for rebates for prescription drugs in all of Medicare Part D, a proposition the drug industry strongly opposed.
Neil Munro from The Daily Caller explains the thoughts of GOP legislators from The Hill. ”The important question to answer is what did the White House get in return for the deal”, said the May 16 memo. Apparently the White House refused to engage or cooperate with any investigation procedures requested from House investigators.
As expected, the White House fought back against the allegations and dismissed them as bogus and a created distraction and delusion. Alicia Mundy from the Wall Street Journal quotes White House spokesman Eric Schultz as labeling the email release “a nakedly political, taxpayer-funded crusade to hurt the president’s re-election campaign.” Schultz goes on to make the case that the administration will save the American taxpayers $80 billion worth on the costs of drugs.
The health care legislation, famously dubbed as “ObamaCare”, has been widely unpopular and faced with much resistance. Several polls indicate that many Americans favor a repeal of some parts, if not all, of the controversial legislation. One of the most unpopular elements of the legislation is the individual mandate, which is deemed by many to be unconstitutional and an infringement of individuals rights and liberties.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on ObamaCare relatively soon. Their decision not only will affect the outcome of the legislation, but will also put the administration in a complex situation in how it will justify the legislation as a domestic achievement of President Obama.