Obamacare's backroom deal for big pharmaceuticals
Last Friday, a report from the Energy and Commerce Committee uncovered several emails which revealed the way in which the Obama Administration successfully passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The details contained within the emails are not particularly surprising when thinking of the deal making culture that often pervades the political world; however when compared to his campaign promises of 2008, President Obama’s outlook on how to pass legislation seems to have made a significant shift.
During the formation of the Affordable Care Act, it is now known that the Obama Administration held several meetings with Phrma, which represents big pharmaceutical companies in Washington. In these meetings, deals were made resulting in the pharmaceutical company extensively financing campaign efforts in support of the bill in exchange for protection from reduced drug prices.
In essence, pharmaceutical companies were allowed to buy protection from policies that would have greatly affected the corporation in a situation not involving political pressure for financial contributions. And political pressure indeed played a major role. According to the emails, the White House threatened to paint Phrma in a negative light if the corporation walked away from the administration’s quid pro quo plan to drum up support for health care reform.
All of this new information regarding the corporate deals that were made in order to ensure the Affordable Care Act’s success provides a stark contrast to the campaigning Senator Obama of 2008.
It was during that time that the then-candidate for president trumpeted the need for enhanced transparency in Washington and promised to uphold a new standard in that regard. It would only be a matter of time before the President broke his campaign promise for heightened transparency during the health care debate, when C-SPAN was barred from being present at several key meetings regarding the controversial legislation.
Ultimately, the American people are left with another politician who is overly prone to back-door corporate deals in exchange for hollow legislative action.
Brent is a rising senior at Georgia College and State University and a summer intern in Jack's Washington, D.C. office.