Policy

Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap?

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It's fairly well known that the White House took a let's-make-a-deal approach to designing last year's health care overhaul. What we don't know are the details: What sort of deals were actually made? And with what groups?  The Daily Caller reports that Rep. Fred Upton, the Republican Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is aiming to find out:

And now I've got tape all over my face.

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.

It wasn't just the White House attempting to make deals. As The Hill reported in October of 2009, Democratic leadership offered doctors a bargain: Support the health care overhaul, and get a doc fix—a decade-long fix to the physicians Medicare reimbursement formula that currently calls for a nearly 30 percent fee cut—in return.

"They said they're going to need our help in getting healthcare reform over the goal line and they expect our support," said a participant who represents doctors. "Reid, Baucus and Dodd. All three said the same thing: They want and expect our support."

The docs bought in: The month after The Hill's report appeared, President Obama announced he was "extraordinarily pleased and grateful" to learn that the American Medical Association, which represents doctors, supported the deal. Maybe not that grateful, though: ObamaCare passed, but so far there's no doc fix, nor even the three or five year patch that some promoted as a compromise.

Upton's investigation isn't expected to uncover details of meetings with Sen. Reid or other congressional leaders; for now, he's only focusing on interactions with the White House. Even still, it'll be interesting to see what he digs up.