The “Rock-Solid Deal” the American People Reject
The House Energy and Commerce Committee released its latest report into the backroom dealings behind Obamacare on Friday. This report, as well as a memo released the previous week, and the supplemental documents related to each report, provide for an interesting read, on multiple levels.
It is of course interesting to learn precisely how candidate Obama went from criticizing Big Pharma’s CEO for exerting improper influence in a 2008 campaign ad to cutting a “rock-solid deal” with the very same executive he had earlier criticized. It’s just as ironic to find a President who pledged to televise all health care negotiations on C-SPAN cutting legislative deals behind closed doors. And perhaps the piece de resistance is the way the Administration endorsed the creation of secret advocacy groups designed to run pro-Obamacare ads – the same kind of “shadow groups” that President Obama has repeatedly criticized as being insufficiently transparent.
But over and above the irony – and hypocrisy – readily apparent in these documents lies a simpler yet more profound truth: Practically every health care group in Washington SUPPORTED Obamacare, and moved heaven and earth to build public support for the law, yet the American people OPPOSED it – and still oppose it to this day. The documents reveal just how desperate special interests were to enact the massive 2700-page law:
- Big Pharma spent $69.7 million on advertising supporting the law through various coalitions – and that’s just one trade association.
- The CEO of AARP personally called Senator Ben Nelson to solicit his support for the measure – after multiple requests from the White House.
- The heads of the major hospital associations let White House officials edit their press releases about their own “deals” with the Administration.
A separate study from Bloomberg Government released late last week demonstrated just why all these special interests were so keen on passing Obamacare. The study found that a Supreme Court decision striking down the law could cost pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other health care interests as much as $740 billion in revenue over the next ten years. Hospitals alone could lose $430 billion. Coming on the heels of last month’s study indicating insurers benefit from Obamacare to the tune of $1 trillion, the Bloomberg report illustrates perfectly why all the health care special interests were desperate to pass the law – as the Energy and Commerce documents reveal.
As might be expected, the documents also include some comedic moments. Given that experts have concluded that Obamacare will make 40 percent of hospitals unprofitable, the frantic struggle among hospital association executives to get Democrat members to vote for the bill may be (to paraphrase an historic expression) the first time in recorded history that turkeys desperately lobbied Congress to vote for Thanksgiving. In a moment of candor, one Pharma executive – a Democrat and former Clinton Administration official – after telling his colleague the bill “raises taxes, raises [insurance] premiums and cuts Medicare,” admitted that “I’ve seen them [i.e., Pharma’s campaign ads about Obamacare]. But I don’t believe them.”
He’s not the only one who didn’t believe the ads. The American people didn’t believe the hype about Obamacare then, and they don’t believe it now. And no amount of special interest lobbying, or “rock-solid deals,” can change that fact.