Obama Met at Least 27 Health Industry Execs

Lawsuit prompts White House to finally release the list
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2009 6:20 AM CDT
Barack Obama during a visit to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, Monday, July 20, 2009. The teddy bear in the background is the hospital logo.    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – Since February, President Obama has hosted at least 27 meetings with health industry bigwigs—representing hospitals, doctors, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies—the Huffington Post reports, in its campaign to head off resistance to health care reform. Names of the visitors were released last night, just before the president's press conference on health care reform, in response to a Freedom of Information request the White House had been dodging.

An ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, yesterday filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security to obtain the records. CREW's chief counsel compared Obama's stonewalling on health to Dick Cheney's on energy and said, "I don't know if you can actually distinguish the two."  (Read more Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics stories.)