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Arizona, Elections, Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Western Free Press investigates Matt Salmon Obamacare claim

Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:17 am   /   by

The Matt Salmon campaign is currently distributing an email attempting to discredit the claim that he lobbied for Obamacare.  Western Free Press conducted an investigation to learn more about the connection between Matt Salmon’s firm and prescription drug companies.  We went straight to the source, contacting one of his firm’s clients about the health care law.

The email from Salmon’s campaign says the following:

1) Matt Salmon has NEVER lobbied for the passage of ObamaCare, the expansion of ObamaCare, or supported ObamaCare in any way, shape or form.
2) Matt Salmon has NEVER lobbied for or against any legislation pertaining to ObamaCare.
3) Matt Salmon’s former business partner, John Haddow, was the consultant who represented Lundbeck and Millennium pharmaceutical companies
4) John Haddow actually lobbied AGAINST ObamaCare, NOT for the passage of it NOR for the expansion of it.

But are these things true?  Matt Salmon’s client, Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals, told a different story.

“We as a company have not taken an official position on the PPACA law but we worked toward ensuring that the provisions in the new law took into account the special needs of the orphan drug populations our therapies serve.”

It seems like the company has maintained a public image of ambivalence toward the unpopular healthcare law, but it pays to maintain a membership in PhRMA — an industry group that lobbied for the law’s passage.  As for the changes to the health care law advocated for by Matt Salmon and his coworkers, what were they?

Salmon’s email also contains a statement from Mike Eging, a former employee of Lundbeck Pharmaceutical company.  His statement says:

“John was tasked to assist in changing the onerous language pertaining to Section 340B, particularly as it applied to Orphan products.  Our team was successful in reversing the changes negotiated by the hospitals and the Obama administration.  Matt Salmon did not work on our account. Michael Eging”

All right, so it’s back to the lobbying disclosure forms that Matt Salmon’s firm, Policy Impact Communications, filed.  On a form where Matt Salmon is listed as an “individual who acted as a lobbyist in this issue area”:

HR 3200 — Access to and coverage of Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Removal of patient life time caps and special tiering of copayments.

Seems pretty clear what that means:  Matt Salmon was lobbying to expand what patients are entitled to under Obamacare.  His client’s drugs are expensive specialty pharmaceuticals, and so the law originally either didn’t mandate coverage of them or limited what insurance companies had to provide patients under the law.  The point of this was to create a guaranteed market for Lundbeck’s products.  Call it crony capitalism or corporate welfare, because that’s what it is.

As a side note, Matt Salmon is not listed on the disclosure forms for all of his firm’s clients.  This isn’t just a regulatory requirement or a quirk created by the paperwork format.  He is only listed on the paperwork for the clients that he actually assisted.  This is not something that can be brushed under the rug as a matter of convenience:  Matt Salmon lobbied to expand what Obamacare covers, increasing the cost of the law for taxpayers.  Period.