Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sounds Like Obama Meeting With Big Pharma Was Just The Beginning...

Of the duplicity that is Obamacare. Some time ago, August 12, 2009, to be exact, Obama-phile Greg Palast wrote about Obama meeting with Big Pharma from the get-go. He was not amused that Obama would do this, though others of us are not surprised one bit that Obamacare was a giveaway to Big Pharma.

But apparently, "Big Pharma" was just the beginning of the companies getting their hands into the Obamacare Pie. And how, as this headline attests, "Upton Expands Investigation Into ’Secret’ Obamacare Meetings." Indeed, this confirms what many of us suspected to be true - Obamacare was not written with the American people in mind, but as paybacks, if you will, to certain groups. I guarantee you, you will not be surprised by some of the groups mentioned below:
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton is expanding his investigation into the meetings between special interest groups and the Obama White House that set the stage for the passage of Obamacare, sending document requests to 12 industry groups and unions that played a key role in the negotiations.

In April 18 letters to the groups, Upton asks for extensive details and documents about each organization’s interactions with the White House in regards to the health care law.

The requests come as the Obama White House has so far declined to provide its documents about the meetings.

At issue are special deals struck between interest groups and President Obama to either garner the support of major industry sectors or soften their criticism of the health care law.

Oh, what a surprise, huh? Yeah, I know - I was being snarky. But what I particularly love is how the White House is refusing to cooperate with this investigation. Oh, yes, "Mr. Transparency" has proven to be even more secretive than Bush. Oh, but you don't hear the same hue and cry over that, not by a long shot. Hey, you know the rules, "they apply to thee, not to me..."
In one major instance, the pharmaceutical drug sector agreed to back the legislation as long as the costs to that sector did not exceed $80 billion. The drug sector eventually spent over $100 million on television advertisements touting the law.

Now to the groups involved in this behemoth law affecting the entire country, and not in a good way:
The industry groups and unions subject to Upton’s request are AARP, AFL-CIO, AdvaMed, AFSCME, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Business Roundtable, Federation of American Hospitals, PHRMA, and SEIU.

Wow. That is quite a roll call. Is anyone surprised to see the AFL/CIO and SEIU listed above? I wasn't either, but I have to wonder just what their medical expertise is that their opinions were even solicited. I guess they were making sure there were sufficient loopholes that they would never have to be a part of this. And they were successful in that regard. Unbelievable.

Now that we have this law, and the funding thereof, looming over our heads, investigating what is in it, and WHO helped craft it, seems a bit overdue, but I guess better late than never, right? Right. The investigation actually began two months ago:
Feb. 18, Upton wrote to Nancy-Ann DeParle, who served as Obama’s health care reform “czar” during the period during which Obamacare was considered in Congress and has since been promoted to the president’s deputy chief of staff, requesting a range of documents relating to meetings and negotiations over the health care law.

The letter requested a list of staff working for the White House Office of Health Reform, a list of their meetings on health care with special interest groups, notes or minutes from those meetings and all written communications between the White House and outside groups on changes to the health care system.

In response, White House counsel Robert Bauer suggested the inquiry was too time consuming to comply with.

The request “would constitute a vast and expensive undertaking,” Bauer wrote in a March 4 letter. Instead, the White House sent Upton a series of public relations materials related to public events related to health care reform and a summary of the publicly available White House visitor logs.

Congressional Republicans say the administration has resisted complying with a series of inquiries such as the request for information on the Obamacare meetings.

This does not seem to be an unreasonable request to me. Isn't this kind of information supposed to be available anyway? We're not talking major secrets here, we are talking about how outside corporations and agencies influenced one of the costliest pieces of legislation ever. Show us the damn records already, and stop beating around the bush. Sheesh. That is, in essence, what the Republicans said, too, though a little nicer than that:
In a response to Bauer, Upton said in a March 10 letter Republicans were “concerned and disappointed,” and reiterated their request for the documents. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

I'll say. I'm "disappointed," too, that this Administration has made the Bush Administration look like an open book, but they surely have.

The Republicans are trying a different tack, though, to obtain the information they seek, "Faced With Obama ’Slow Walking’ Document Requests, GOP Aims At Outside Groups."

Well, that's one way to do it, though it is disturbing that a president, any president, would stonewall those who were elected to do the work of the people, in this case, protecting them from undue influence by certain groups:
[snip] “There is a coordinated effort, I assume being led by the White House, to, I would describe it as slow walking or slow rolling these things,” says an investigator on the Energy and Commerce Committee, “No one’s told us ‘no, we’re not gonna do that.’ They say they’ll do it every time. But they’re doing as much as they can to stall.”

The administration’s resistance to cooperate with requests that could expose damaging information about the president’s health care law and other issues is shaping the latest GOP salvo, aimed, not at the administration, but at a series of industry trade associations and unions. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

All I can do is just shake my head in disgust - at Obama, Pelosi, and those spineless cowards who passed this horrific, pork-laden, influence peddled, law. If they were capable of shame, they should surely feel it over this, this law that will increase our deficit higher and higher.

We knew this was happening - we knew it, they knew it, and they passed it anyway. Wow.

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