Republican Congressman-turned-lobbyist-turned-congressional candidate Matt Salmon promises he'll "join the fight to repeal Obamacare" if he's elected to Congress this fall.
If you ask his primary opponent in the state's Fifth Congressional District, former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams, Salmon already joined that fight -- except he was lobbying for the bill's passage.
Here are the key facts that have been presented by Adams' campaign: the Pharmaceutical Researchers & Manufactures Association (PhRMA) was part of a coalition that made a deal with the White House to support the passage of "Obamacare." Two of the pharmaceutical companies in PhRMA listed Salmon as one of their lobbyists during this time.
The Adams camp points to at least one part in Salmon's lobbying disclosure forms, describing "Access to and coverage of Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Removal of patient life caps and special tiering of copayments" on HR 3200 -- a failed version of "Obamacare" that included a public option.
The removal of lifetime insurance caps ended up making its way into the bill.
Salmon's campaign came back with a statement later in the day denying Adams' accusations.
"My former firms, Policy Impact Communications and Upstream Consulting, have never lobbied in support of the Affordable Health Care Act or what has become known as Obamacare," Salmon says. "Any statement to the contrary is 100% false and a blatant lie."
Here's Salmon's explanation of his work with the PhRMA companies:
"The truth is members of my former firms lobbied to change a provision in the proposed law which would have restricted access of people with some rare form of diseases from getting the appropriate drug therapy. Both Policy Impact Communications and Upstream Consulting, were hired to point this out to members of Congress and ensure these people receive the access to the medication they require. Never, was I or my firm, ever compensated to support Obamacare in any fashion.
The firms I worked for were retained only to change this narrow provision. I personally never lobbied on behalf of this client, and have always remained completely opposed to the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare."
Aside from denying he had anything to do with the lobbying -- despite being named as an "individual who acted as a lobbyist in this issue area" in disclosure forms -- the Adams campaign is taking Salmon's statement as an admission of guilt:
"Today, Matt Salmon revealed that he lobbied for the expansion of Obamacare. Salmon says that his former firms were hired to 'change a provision in the proposed law which would have restricted access of people with some rare form of disease from getting the appropriate drug therapy.' A really long Washington way of saying, they actually lobbied to expand the bill by expanding drug coverage. Only a Washington lobbyist could work to make a bill larger, and then claim, with a straight face, that he didn't support its passage.
The companies that Salmon represented were both members of PhRMA, which spent more than $150 million to secure Obamacare's passage."
What exactly Salmon and company were doing for Obamacare out of their K Street office may never be known, but you can find the evidence provided by the Adams campaign here.
And someone pass the cigarettes. (Electronic cigarettes, please.)
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