Boehner: White House Traded Policy Deals for Special Interest-Funded ObamaCare PR Campaign

John Boehner

Today at a press conference with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Speaker Boehner addressed the new memorandum released by the House Energy Commerce Committee on a year-long investigation into the backroom deals and secret negotiations that went on between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry to secure passage of ObamaCare – a law that is making it harder for small businesses to hire, and remains as unpopular as ever.  As Speaker Boehner said today, the memo shows “that the White House traded billions of dollars in policy concessions to PhRMA [the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America] for millions of dollars worth of advertising,” adding that “this is wrong, and the administration must be held accountable for their actions.”

Here’s more from the memo: 

“As the memoranda from the Committee have shown, the Obama Administration led a closed-door process that used numerous tools at the disposal of the White House, from scheduling meetings through Administration aides to threatening the use of the President’s radio address, to secure a narrow, partisan victory on a piece of legislation that the public is rejecting in greater numbers every day.  

This investigation has shown that the White House gave away billions of dollars in policy concessions to PhRMA in exchange for millions of dollars in advertising.  These PhRMA dollars were funneled to two new ‘Super PACs’, created and managed in part by White House officials, in order to win public support for the President’s bill.”

Today’s memo provides new details on a meeting convened by the White House and a top Democratic Senate staffer and attended by major industry groups who “were informed of the White House’s wish to link the country’s economic problems to the need for a new health care law and told that they would be contacted in the near future regarding the details of their expected support.”  Sure enough, the groups received a solicitation from Nick Baldick – the director of the newly formed Healthy Economy Now – just weeks later seeking funding for the SuperPAC and assuring donations would be kept private. 

Those donations – including a $70 million contribution from PhRMA – were used to fund two organizations in which “the White House played a vital role in the organization and direction of two 501(c)(4) groups, worked with special interests to develop mutually agreeable messaging, and offered input on where the money should go,” according to the committee.  In a previously-released memo, the committee found that, for its part, PhRMA received specific policy outcomes it sought in the health care law, which its senior lobbyist described as “a good deal” for the pharmaceutical industry. 

The American people did not receive “a good deal” on ObamaCare, and are paying for it with higher costs, fewer jobs and less certainty for small businesses.  That is why, as Speaker Boehner reiterated today, “we know that it must be repealed in its entirety.”  House Republicans cast their 30th vote this week to repeal part of ObamaCare that puts 47,000 jobs at risk.  If the Supreme Court does not overturn the entire law this month, the House will continue working to scrap what’s left of it and replace it with step-by-step reforms that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost.



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