Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee announced in a 16 May statement they have obtained new information regarding the role of the White House in the 2009-10 negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry over provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The negotiations, which were done quietly to avoid media and political scrutiny, "were never made public," explained Republicans members of the E&C Committee in a statement.
"Based on email exchanges and other primary source material, it appears the deal was reached not solely between PhRMA and the US Senate Finance Committee, but that top personnel in the White House were involved in negotiating and approving this deal," wrote the members in a memo.
However, that information seems limited to primarily partisan interpretations of limited source emails. The new information today only reportedly confirms the involvement of top White House officials, including Office of Health Reform Director Nancy Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, and former Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, in facilitating negotiations between industry groups and the Senate Finance Committee.
The Republican members of the committee pledged to release new information related to the investigation shortly. "In the coming weeks, the committee will show what the White House agreed to do as part of its deal with the pharmaceutical industry, and how the full details of this agreement were kept from both the public and the House of Representatives," Republicans E&C members wrote in their statement.
The committee's attempts to uncover records has been ongoing since at least January, when members announced they were requesting the Obama administration turn over "internal memoranda" relating to negotiations between it and groups representing the pharmaceutical industry, including PhRMA.
Those calls went unheeded, as did further requests to PhRMA. Bloomberg reported on 8 May the committee was pressuring individual pharmaceutical companies to turn over similar internal memoranda related to the negotiations, and had obtained the cooperation of Pfizer and AstraZeneca, possibly re-igniting a long-stalled effort by the committee.
Today's information is presumably at least partially the result of that cooperation, particularly as PhRMA and members of the Obama administration have been loath to cooperate with the committee.
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