Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Committee Investigation Outlines White House’s Role in Backroom Health Care Negotiations

The meaning of the word transparency seems to escape our President as do so many facts that don't make it to his teleprompter. This is a developing story that should prove interesting as the information is released. 

Excerpt: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), today released new information that confirms the White House played a pivotal role in cutting a “deal” with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the details of which have never been fully disclosed to the public. The latest revelations come as part of an ongoing investigation launched more than a year ago to allow Congress and the American public to understand the process that was used to write legislation that fundamentally transformed the nation's health care system. 

Today, a staff memo distributed to Republican members of the committee provided further information regarding the development of the “deal,” and the parties involved in negotiating specific policy outcomes to secure support for the legislation. Based on email exchanges and other primary source material, it appears the deal was reached not solely between PhRMA and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, but that top personnel in the White House were involved in negotiating and approving this deal. The committee’s investigation determined that the White House, specifically Office of Health Reform Director Nancy Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, and Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, actively engaged in these negotiations while the role of Congress was limited. Their involvement in these previously undisclosed negotiations is particularly noteworthy since it contradicts the president’s promises of transparency. 

And as the memo highlights, the important question to be answered is what the White House got in return. 

Read full House Committee memo here.

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