Now we know why President Obama broke his promise to the American people to have health care reform televised on C-Span. In 2009, Obama released a short statement confirming the existence of a deal between the drug industry and Senate Democrats on Obamacare. But no mention was made of White House involvement in the dealing.
But yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released emails between drug industry lobbyists and senior White House officials detailing the parameters of the final deal and the surrounding negotiations. The Washington Examiner‘s Phil Klein reports:
Nancy DeParle, then director of the White House Office of Health Reform, wrote the following email to PhRMA’s chief lobbyist on June 3, 2009: “Yes – I pushed this to everyone (Messina, Rahm) is in Egypt with POTUS but Phil Schrillo, Dana Singlser and I made decision, based on how constructive you guys have been, to oppose importation on this bill.”
At the time, Rahm Emanuel was White House Chief of Staff, Jim Messina was deputy chief of staff, Phil Schrillo was Obama’s legislative affairs director and Dana Singlser was his special assistant to the president for legislative affairs.
That September, top PhRMA lobbyist Bryant Hall reported in an email that he “had a good call w Messina,” and wrote: “Confidential: WH is working on some very explicit language on importation to kill it in health care reform. This has to stay quiet.”
Drug re-importation never made it into the final legislation.
As part of the final deal, PhRMA agreed to support health care legislation, spend millions on ads promoting it, and agree to $80 billion in savings and taxes to help finance the bill.
In exchange, PhRMA not only ended up with a law that promised to provide it with millions of new customers, but protected it against policies contemplated by Democrats that would have been harmful to their profits, such as introducing a government plan into the Medicare prescription drug program, allowing rebates for drug purchases through the program and drug re-importation.
This is exactly the type of special interest deal making that Obama promised to change when he got to Washington. As these emails show, he failed miserably.
Romney: Speaking on a special episode of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight hosted by film producer Harvey Weinstein, President Bill Clinton said that Mitt Romney “had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.” The Romney campaign released a new ad titled, “A Better Day.”
Obama: Bloomberg reports that Obama is confiding to Democratic donors that he may have to revisit Obamacare in a second term, a position at odds with his publicly expressed confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Massachusetts Senate: Elizabeth Warren admitted yesterday that she was the one who told both Harvard University and Pennsylvania University, that she is Native American. Warren still claims that she only informed both institutions of her favored minority status after she was hired. Warren then asked her opponent, Sen. Scott Brown, to apologize for raising the issue at all. Brown declined, responding, “when you’re checking a box and you’re getting benefits that are entitled to people who need them and who historically have been discriminated upon, and you have others relying on those representations, it is a problem.”
Wisconsin Recall: President Clinton will be heading to Wisconsin to campaign for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and against Gov. Scott Walker.
Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, First-Period U.S. Growth Was Slower Than Thought: The U.S. grew slower during the first quarter than previously thought and continued weakness in the job market and elsewhere suggests the economy is struggling to gain traction.
ABC News, Fisker May Never Build Electric Cars in US: The luxury carmaker Fisker Automotive continues to signal it could ditch plans to build its next generation hybrid electric vehicle in the United States, despite the nearly $200 million in Obama administration loan money it has already received.
Reuters, A123 sees “going concern” risk due to steep losses: Lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc, a recipient of $249 million from the Obama administration, said on Wednesday there was “substantial doubt” about its viability because the company expects to burn through cash and report steep losses over the next several quarters.
The Washington Post, U.S. judge blocks key parts of Fla. law regulating voter registration: A federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida law regulating groups that organize voter-registration drives.
The New York Times, Federal Officials Shut Down 26 Bus Operators: Citing imminent safety hazards, federal officials ordered 26 companies on Thursday to stop operating many of the inexpensive buses that pick up passengers at curbsides all over Manhattan’s Chinatown and haul them to other cities up and down the East Coast.
The Los Angeles Times, Mexico left in the dark on Fast and Furious, ambassador says: In a forum Thursday on Capitol Hill, Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., said the failed federal gun-tracking operation called Fast and Furious showed an “outstanding lack of understanding of how criminal organizations are operating on both sides of our common borders.”
The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Probe of J.P. Morgan Widens: Federal regulators are using powers they gained in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to ramp up an inquiry into the recent trading blunders at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford economics professor John Taylor identifies the “Rules for America’s Road to Recovery.”
At RedState, The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Darling warns that the Law of Sea Treaty is a back door for cap and trade.
At The Corner, AEI’s Andrew Biggs reports on his new research, finding that public-sector benefits remain a lot more generous than in the private sector.
The Washington Post reaffirms that White House claims that Obama isn’t a big spender deserve three Pinocchios.
GQ’s Devin Gordon says their is no liberal bias at The New York Times or The Washington Post.
Talking Points Memo notes that Romney signed off on government loans to now-bankrupt technology companies too.