(image: Brooks Elliott/flickr)

It was first reported back in 2009 that the Obama administration cut a deal with the PhRMA to break specific campaign promises he made about health care reform in exchange for PhRMA spending money to politically support the bill. Thanks to some newly revealed emails via Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner we now have more details of how the deal was made.

Nancy DeParle, then director of the White House Office of Health Reform, wrote the following email to PhRMA’s chief lobbyist on June 3, 2009: “Yes – I pushed this to everyone (Messina, Rahm) is in Egypt with POTUS but Phil Schrillo, Dana Singlser and I made decision, based on how constructive you guys have been, to oppose importation on this bill.”


That September, top PhRMA lobbyist Bryant Hall reported to his coworkers in an email that he “had a good call w Messina,” and wrote: “Confidential: WH is working on some very explicit language on importation to kill it in health care reform. This has to stay quiet.”

Despite the best efforts of Senators like Byron Dorgan (D-ND) a bipartisan effort to include drug re-importation in the Affordable Care Act was effectively stopped by the Obama team and their congressional allies. The Obama administration’s FDA even sent a highly political and frankly technically bullshit letter right before the amendment came up for a vote to undercut support.

As a result of Obama betraying his campaign promise on drug importation both government spending and individual spending on prescription drugs will remain artificially high. At the time the CBO found the amendment would have saved the government $19.4 billion and consumers roughly $100 billion over the next decade.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com