“News to Me!” – Inside the Health Care Emails

American Oversight has obtained and posted more than 4,000 pages of correspondence between the Trump administration and Congress regarding the effort to repeal Obamacare.

One of these sets of documents includes an email exchange that appears to show senior White House and Congressional aides joking about “patient centered care” in an Obamacare repeal proposal.

The email exchange between Will Dunham, policy director for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Jonathan Slemrod, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget took place on March 21, 2017 during the rollout of an early attempt to pass health care reform legislation.

The OMB legislative affairs office had emailed Capitol Hill staffers with drafts of White House statements supporting two pieces of proposed health care legislation.

Will Dunham from McCarthy’s office emailed Jonathan Slemrod at OMB, saying: “These are great. Your name should be the ‘from’ addy!”

Slemrod replied: “This isn’t about me. It’s about patient-centered care, obviously.”

To which Dunham replied: “News to me!”

Emails between Will Dunham, policy director for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Jonathan Slemrod, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The phrase “patient-centered care” was a key talking point used by congressional Republicans to support their push to repeal (and replace) the Affordable Care Act. It appears repeatedly in the documents obtained by American Oversight detailing the negotiations between the Trump administration and Congress, as well as in op-eds by House Republicans including this one by Pat Tiberi.