Top administration officials cut backroom deals with the nation’s top drug companies to win support for President Obama’s health care overhaul, threatening them with steeper taxes if they resisted and promising a better financial deal for the industry if they acquiesced, according to internal documents released Thursday by House Republicans.
In some of the key deals, Mr. Obama agreed to drop his long-standing support for letting Americans buy cheaper foreign prescription drugs — something the pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposed — and the drugmakers promised to mount a public campaign to sell the public on the health care legislation.
The drug industry financed the famous “Harry and Louise” commercials in the early 1990s that many credit with helping to turn public opinion against President Clinton’s massive health care bill. In 2009, the industry revived the fictional married couple — this time with words of praise for Mr. Obama’s bill.
The material released by House GOP members provides a rare insider look at the wheeling and dealing on Capitol Hill as Mr. Obama tried to shepherd his bill through Congress, in the face of near-unanimous GOPopposition.