An upcoming magazine feature has led House Republicans to renew demands for copies of administration correspondence leading up to passage of the 2010 federal healthcare overhaul.
The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
wrote the Obama administration on Tuesday to demand copies of communications between the White House Office of Health Reform and various provider advocates before passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Citing an upcoming feature article in the New Yorker that liberally quotes from such memos, the Republicans—led by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the committee—wrote that providing the documents to reporters waives the administration's right to withhold the documents using executive privilege.
The committee's Republicans have sought the communications for two years, while the administration has generally refused without explanation to release them.
Republicans have sought the documents to detail the extensive horse-trading that was widely believed to have occurred before passage of the law that led many provider groups to actively support or at least refrain from opposing it. The position of provider advocates toward the 2010 law was a marked shift from the active opposition of many of them to the Clinton administration's attempted enactment of a healthcare overhaul and the change was frequently cited as critical to passage of the 2010 law.
“It is outrageous that despite our multiple efforts to obtain information about the negotiations and deals entered into by the White House, Congress has only been provided with material previously made publicly available, while the administration selectively provides such information to The New Yorker,” the members of Congress wrote.
The congressmen requested the documents by Feb. 1.