Those on the email included Michelle Nawar of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Karen Ignagni of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), David Sloane of AARP, Bryant Hall of PhRMA, Amanda Austin of NFIB [National Federation of Independent Business] and Bill Miller of the Chamber of Commerce.
In an April 22, 2009 email, Nawar described that meeting, explaining that the group wanted to see ads “linking [health-care] HC reform to the economy and the need to do HC reform now,” and wanted the organizations to contribute money to the “Healthy Economy Now” effort.
The emails make it clear that despite working with the White House on the issue, the health-care industry did not want to be viewed as in the pockets of the Obama administration.
“I think we will try to keep a little space between us and the White House on the issue,” AARP official John Rother wrote in an email on Nov. 6, 2009. “Our polling shows we are more influential when we are seen as independent, so we want to reinforce that position.”
The White House has dismissed the new emails as old news.
“This was reported extensively two years ago that Mr. Axelrod was not involved in any way in the contract between AKDP and PhRMA on the issue of health-care reform,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “And there’s nothing new that was reported in The Wall Street Journal or anywhere else that sheds anything — that sheds any new light on that.”