GOP Questions White House’s Health Reform Deals With Rx Industry
Last week, Republicans released a memo alleging that the White House in 2009 worked closely with special interest groups to direct drug industry money toward paying for advertisements supporting passage of the federal health reform law, Reuters reports.
A series of emails released by GOP investigators on the House Energy and Commerce Committee show that White House staffers were linked to a decision by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to allocate nearly $70 million to two third-party groups -- American for Stable Quality Care and Healthy Economy Now -- that ran ads backing the health reform proposal.
Republicans said the emails show that White House staffers attempted to direct the content of ads as well as advocacy strategies of AARP and AFL-CIO (Morgan, Reuters, 6/8).
At a news conference on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, "This is wrong, and the administration much be held accountable."
House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats, led by Reps. Diana DeGette (Colo.) and Henry Waxman (Calif.), dismissed the allegations as widely known fact, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
DeGette and Waxman noted that the deal between the White House and PhRMA, as well as PhRMA's membership in two advocacy groups that ran ads supporting the health reform, was covered extensively by the media in 2009 and 2010.
The White House condemned the memo, saying in a statement, "Republicans, who previously admitted this is not serious and merely a partisan effort to distract the Presidentâs re-election campaign, are now attempting to recycle an old story that was well covered during the original debate three years ago" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 6/8).
Drug Industry Statement
PhRMA said its dealings with Obama administration officials were part of its mission "to ensure patient access" to high-quality medications.
"Before, during and since the health care debate, PhRMA engaged with Congress and the administration to advance these priorities," PhRMA said in a statement (Baker, New York Times, 6/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.