Emails Show Obama Dogfight With Drug Industry Over Healthcare
11 months ago
Industry feared Obama would bring down medicine prices.
New emails recently released show the fight President Obama and the drug industry were in while he was trying to pass his Healthcare overhaul plan, according to the New York Times.
Drug industry lobbyists insisted that if they were going to cut a deal with the president, they needed his guarantee that drug medicine prices would not drop.
The same industry the president criticized for their high prices during his 2008 campaign was the same industry he eventually made a deal with to pass his plan.
The compromises now show the dealings that occurred in 2009 with the healthcare plan that is now at the mercy of a looming Supreme Court judgment.
“Throughout his campaign, President Obama was clear that he would bring every stakeholder to the table in order to pass health reform, even longtime opponents like the pharmaceutical industry,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said Friday. “He understood correctly that the unwillingness to work with people on both sides of the issue was one of the reasons why it took a century to pass health reform.”
Republicans see the deal as hypocritical. “He said it was going to be the most open and honest and transparent administration ever and lobbyists won’t be drafting the bills,” said Representative Michael C. Burgess of Texas, a Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee examining the deal. “Then when it came time, the door closed, the lobbyists came in and the bills were written.”
Some liberals bothered by the deal in 2009 now find the Republican criticism hard to take given the party’s longstanding ties to the industry.
“Republicans trumpeting these e-mails is like a fox complaining someone else raided the chicken coop,” said Robert Reich, who was labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. “Sad to say, it’s called politics in an era when big corporations have an effective veto over major legislation affecting them and when the G.O.P. is usually the beneficiary.”