Top Republican opens investigations into healthcare 'secret deals'

The ranking member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee is opening an investigation into the "secret deals" that the White House and Democrats made with various healthcare stakeholders.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent letters today to six organizations asking them what agreements, if any, they made with the Obama administration in exchange for their support of (or lack of opposition to) healthcare reform

In the letter, Issa cites reports that Democrats cut deals with the hospital industry and the pharmaceutical industry to prevent them from campaigning against reform legislation.

Both conservatives and liberal activists have decried the supposed deal with PhRMA, in which Democrats reportedly agreed to not pass legislation easing the importation generic drugs from Canada or use Medicare's leverage to lower drug prises as long as PhRMA did not oppose healthcare reform.

"These examples are only the tip of the iceberg," Issa wrote. "The negotiations leading up to the finished health care reform bill and the consequences of the deals cut by the White House and Democratic leadership are likely to become the subject of Congressional oversight and scrutiny for years to come."

The organizations receiving letters are the American Medical Association (AMA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association, the pharmaceutial industry lobby (PhRMA), the AFL-CIO, and the AARP.

Among those organizations, only the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has actively campaigned against Democrats' proposals. Others, including the AFL-CIO, are working hard to pass the legislation

Issa asks the organizations to identify any "action (or inaction) expressly or implicitly agreed to by your organization or its agent during any meetihg with the White House or Congressional leadership regarding health care reform."



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