The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

White House Discloses Meetings With Health Care Executives

Updated 9:37 p.m.
By Dan Eggen
The Obama administration released Wednesday night a list of 15 health-care lobbyists and senior executives who have visited the White House to discuss health-care reform.

Guests have included Billy Tauzin of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Ignagni of America's Health Insurance Plans; Richard Umbdenstock of the American Hospital Association; and J. James Rohack of the American Medical Association, according to a letter from White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig. Senior executives at companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealth Group and Merck also visited at least once.

The list was released in response to a lawsuit filed earlier in the day by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, which had been denied access to the names by the U.S. Secret Service. Many of the meetings, it turned out, were well-known gatherings that had already been publicized.

Obama noted as much during his news conference Wednesday night, saying, "Most of the time, you guys have been in there taking pictures, so it hasn't been a secret. ... These have mostly been at least photo sprays, where you could see who was participating."

Obama added that he would back broader access to future meetings at the White House or in Congress. "If [lawmakers] wanted those to be on C-Span, then I would welcome it," he said. "I don't think there are a lot of secrets going on in there."

CREW said in a statement that Craig's letter "in no way" fulfills the group's request, which was for the visitor logs themselves.

"Releasing some records because it is politically expedient to do so is not transparency," the group said.

The White House's decision to release the information marks another departure in policy from the Bush administration, which fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to withhold the names of participants in an energy task force, run by then-vice president Richard B. Cheney, that was dominated by representatives of the oil and gas industries.

The Obama White House has made little secret of its intent to meet frequently with industry representatives in hopes of gaining their cooperation on reform efforts. One March 5 health-care summit, for example, was hosted by President Obama and featured more than 150 people, including physicians, business leaders, union representatives and consumer advocates. Four of the industry group leaders on the new White House list attended that summit.

Although most of the leaders on the list visited the White House once or twice, others were more frequent guests, the letter shows. The most frequent visitor was Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the hospitals group, who met with officials or attended gatherings at the White House eight times from Feb. 4 to May 22.

Posted at 7:57 PM ET on Jul 22, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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So, LarryG62, you are retired and no doubt collecting Social Security and Medicare. So, how do you like your government run health care system...which everyone else is helping pay for in their payroll taxes? I look forward to receiving Medicare services in the near future. Because even though I have worked full time for the past forty five years, I still don't have medical insurance or medical care, though I pay for it in my payroll taxes to help cover you. The premiums and deductibles on my health insurance got too high to be affordable for me. Tell me, does the government choose which doctor you can go to and what care they will pay for or which hospital serves you? Just wondering.

Posted by: clairevb | July 23, 2009 11:06 AM

I'm still waiting for the list of energy executives who met with Cheney to form the US energy policy. When I see that, then we can talk about this much ado about nothing. "Hypocrisy" is and has been the mainstay in the imaginary land of the GOP.

Posted by: AugustWest1 | July 23, 2009 10:24 AM

This dumb_s$ Obama is driving our nation deeper in debt, and you liberal moochers want us to give up more so you can have your free medical care.
What a pathetic bunch of class envy dolts.

Before all you hate mongers start to vilify me, I've worked all my life. Worked two jobs for most of it, put my children through college without any government help, and am now retired.

I hope the A-hole in the White House goes down in flames, because he's destroying our country, and you nitwits don't get it.

Posted by: LarryG62 | July 23, 2009 10:17 AM

to wildbill: the press are being ridiculous this time. As Obama said, the people who attended have been photographed, interviewed, etc. What more do you want, fingerprint them? the press have the attendees names, they can call these people and talk to them. Geesh. With Cheney, he refused totally to give any name, no pictures, no list, no nothing.

Posted by: mstratas | July 23, 2009 10:10 AM

Healthcare reform is long overdue. The Republicans are obstructing it because they know they will be out in the wilderness for a very long time when the Reform passes. The insurance companies do not want reform because it means the end of their CONTROL AND DICTATORSHIP over people; the insurance companies can no longer tell the physicians what procedures to do, what drugs to prescribe - the doctors and hospitals are so beholden to the insurance companies that they have no say in the treatment. Insurance companies RATION services so critics who say that the Public Option will be rationing, are wrong. With Reform, one's child tonsils need not be removed because it means more revenue. All Americans should trust Pres. Obama; he knows the current system is skewed towards insurance companies, pharma companies, hospitals, lobbyists....etc. let us not be stupid anymore. Support Healthcare Reform. What do we have to lose? We've been trampled upon already.

Posted by: mstratas | July 23, 2009 10:04 AM

U.S. health care has evolved into a neo-taxation whereby income, savings, and equity are transferred from the many unto a wealthy few. Such health care as occurs seems an ever decreasing minimum which allows a pretense of believability for profiteers in the "health" care industry.

Posted by: TeresaBinstock | July 23, 2009 9:53 AM


Posted by: WVUWEIRTON | July 22, 2009 8:30 PM

And mine TOO. And, I will be out there in FORCE to make sure that the GOP will never see the DAWN of DAY!

Posted by: lcarter0311 | July 23, 2009 9:41 AM

The Obama administration released Wednesday night a list of 15 health-care lobbyists and senior executives who have visited the White House to discuss health-care reform.

It's not the same as releasing the records. Obama is acting no different than Bush and Cheney with their secretive Energy meetings. Obama is nothing more than a hypocrite!!!!

Posted by: WildBill1 | July 23, 2009 9:06 AM

This guy AntonioSasa needs health care coverage if he does not have one, especially one that covers treatment of mental health.

When you are well you try to say all you have to say in one small post. Most people lack the patience to read such slew of posts.

Posted by: pattr1 | July 23, 2009 4:52 AM

You are right, BlessedHealth. Obama wants his socialized health care program rushed before Americans realize how much it will hurt us and how much it will hurt future generations, which will have to pay for what Obama is doing.

Anyone familiar with socialized health care programs knows they are extremely costly (to pay for the added bureaucracy) and profoundly inefficient (as all government programs are).

There's much that we can do to improve our health care system, but Obama does not seem interested in that. He just wants to control our health care system as soon as possible. It seems to be part of his plan to enslave us with socialism/Marxism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 12:45 AM

Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama wants to nationalize everything, including our health care system! "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV a few days ago. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 12:37 AM

Those who want socialized medicine and a socialist/communist country, please move to Cuba or North Korea! You have no right to transform the U.S. into a failed socialist country like Cuba just because you are "dumbed down," as per Pravda:

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 12:35 AM

How can anyone believe that paying for additional bureaucracy is going to save us money? Adding billions of dollars to our deficit so Obama can pay thousands of additional ACORN-type government workers -- to decide who lives or dies -- is an ABOMINATION. Obamacare will only increase our deficit, further steal from our children and grandchildren, and further deteriorate health care.

To fix our health care problems, we need to go in the OPPOSITE direction in which Obama is taking us. A socialized health care system would be another step to destroy our country, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 12:33 AM

The House version of the Health Care Bill (pages 425-430) is going to require mandatory end-of-life (death) counseling for all those over 65, at least every five years and more often if the person is sick or in a nursing home.

I guess that is one way Obama is planning to “save” money –- coercing 65-year olds to die before they cost any money!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 12:31 AM

As we can see, Obama continues to lie, manipulate and intimidate to shove his socialized health care system down our throats!

EVERYTHING Obama has done so far has harmed us. He has multiplied our deficit, increased unemployment, increased poverty, and decreased our wellbeing and safety. He sides and defends terrorists and U.S. enemies (Hamas, Castro, Chavez, Zelaya) and harms us and our friends (Israelis, Hondurans).

How can anyone believe that his plans to socialize our health care system are good for us? Socialized health care is just another step to impose socialism/Marxism on us, and the corruption, poverty, enslavement, destruction and despair that Marxism entails.

Obama is working much faster than Hugo Chavez at destroying the economy and imposing Marxism. No wonder the Russians are gloating. From Pravda: “…the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…”

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 12:30 AM


The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!


Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 22, 2009 10:33 PM

"In Defense of Patients and Physicians: Restore "doctor-patient relationships"; scrap "networks."


There is absolutely NO NEED to rush this health care matter! Stop. Step back; gather physicians and talk about it. The past 20 years has been a RAPE of the medical profession; don't perpetuate it.

And since the president said nothing would kick in until "2013," there are things that can be done in the meantime that will FREE PHYSICIANS to CARE FOR OUR PATIENTS!!! You won't have any doctors if this mess keeps up.

Although I voted for Barack Obama, I am most upset—infuriated, actually—with his handling of the health care reform debate.

Why is he ramming this down our throats before fully analyzing the pertinents of the issue? The more immediate concerns—abolishing "physician 'networks'" and opening the market for physician selection, for one—is a better place to start, and wouldn't cost the government anything.

The insurance companies have mangled health care for the past 20 years; we don't need the president acting like a wild buck and furthering their misdeeds and malpractice on the American people—patients and physicians alike.

He and Congress need to slow down so this will make some sense! This issue is much too important.

Posted by: BlessedHealth | July 22, 2009 9:21 PM

Do you trust ANYTHING the Post publishes on health care? Don't forget they were selling access to the White House to lobbyists only last month in the form of "salons"! Join me in boycotting this corrupt newspaper until Katherine Weymouth resigns as Publisher and CEO. I would apologize to Dan Eggen, except that he seems perfectly complacent in this scandal. Mr. Eggen, why don't you do the honorable thing and help organize a general employee strike to get Weymouth to resign? If you do, sir, I'll read your work, no matter where you end up working.

Posted by: wabewalker | July 22, 2009 9:20 PM

I have in the last few days read that if the Republicans can defeat President Obama's Public Health Plan this would be Obama's WaterLoo...

Nothing could be further from the truth!!!

If President Obama's Public Health Plan is not pass by Congress WE will blame the following.

1. The Republican Party.
2. Those Democrats who voted against Obama's Health Plan.
3. The Health Industry, who has BEEN giving both Republicans and certain Democrats tens of millions of lobby dollars to defeat Obama's Health Plan. YES, OUR COUNTRY IS FOR SALE!!!



Posted by: WVUWEIRTON | July 22, 2009 8:30 PM

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