While running for office:
“I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.”
Obama promised — repeatedly — an end to closed-door negotiations and complete openness for the health care talks. But he hasn’t delivered. Instead of open talks of C-SPAN, we’ve gotten more of the same — talks behind closed doors at the White House and Congress. We might revisit this promise if there’s a dramatic change, but we see nothing to indicate anything has changed. We rate this Promise Broken.
“I don’t think the president intimated that every decision putting together a health care bill would be on public TV,” Gibbs said.
The notion of televising negotiations behind a health care revamp was so central to Obama’s campaign promises of change and openness, however, that it became part of his stump speech as he traveled the country in 2007 and 2008.
He’d describe how televised deliberations would take place around a big table, with seats filled by doctors, nurses, insurers and other interested parties. As president, he’d joke, he’d get the biggest chair.
“Not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN,” Obama explained in a Democratic debate in Los Angeles in January 2008, in language similar to many of his campaign stops.
However, the two biggest deals so far — industry agreements to cut drug and hospital costs — were reached in secret.
There was no way he was ever really going to do this. He knew this at the time, and anybody who thought otherwise is painfully naive and will probably be more careful the next election.
Meanwhile, you’ve been stiffed, but if you believed this promise, you probably deserved it, to be brutally honest.