January 29th, 2010
03:51 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Obama on health care debate

Addressing President Barack Obama at the GOP retreat Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asserted that the president reneged on a campaign promise to broadcast all health care debates on C-SPAN.  The president, while admitting that some elements of the debate were left out, asserted that the majority of the legislative process surrounding health care had been made available for broadcast.

Fact Check: So which version of events is accurate?

According to a letter from C-SPAN:  "Since the initial introduction of the America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate, C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, markups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives."

CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett says the health care conference meetings thus far have been informal and unofficial, but if a formal and official "conference committee" is convened, then rules would require its activities be open to media coverage.  But, Barrett notes, the hard work for many bills is done in closed informal meetings.  Only once everything is worked out is an official open meeting called to cast votes.

Bottom line: While many hearings and debates have been broadcast, key informal conference committee discussions - where any deal between the House and Senate will ultimately be brokered - are not open to the public or media,  giving credence to Chaffetz's assertion.

- CNN Political Producer Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Waldemar Sanabria

    The Hypocrisy Olympics continue. The GOP complains that the Health Care reform process is not being broadcasted, and once again the Media allows them to get away with it. Just a few years ago, Dick Cheney drafted a National Energy Strategy after meeting with selected Energy Industry executives. He refused to tell us who, and the Media barely raised their voice. We do know the results,however. Oil prices shot up and Exxon, et al got even richer.

    January 29, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. Libertarian

    WAIT....how much did this RETREAT for the Repubs AND THEIR families cost us?

    January 29, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. Preston kk

    Pkm put mr obama and the gop in the sane room lock the door and talk

    January 29, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. JLM

    The Republicans were left out because they voted not to even discuss healthcare. Their minds were already made up, I guess that's why they call them the party of no.

    January 29, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Roger

    The real issue is that Obama promised that all discussions would be transparent and he was the one that said he would have all hearing aired on C-SPAN. Credibility is the issue and after his blunders in the State of the Union address it is obvious he has no credibility.

    January 29, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Joshua

    Maybe CNN should focus on the fact that conference committee meetings are informal because republicans have not been honest partners in this process, and will never be such.

    January 29, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. Ted:Canada

    WOW – my friend Jerry in Michigan paid $837 for an ecg and heart xray in Nov.

    Today I finished my mid age check up – blood test – urine test – ecg – xray – stresss test – took me three days but the cost to me was "o"
    oh yah! fuel cost was $16.70 for the three trips.

    Now here is the real problem!!!

    I make a little more than Jerry – we both work for the same company GMC – and I pay the about same taxes as – $250 difference.

    WOW I am glad I work in Canada

    Obama – you are on the right track – don't stop – when you get it done the people will LOVE YOU!!!

    Make sure you hold on to the video tapes of all those that tried to stop the Amercian people for getting there basic health care covered – they will never get elected again!

    January 29, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Albert St. Germain

    Does Rep. Chaffetz get an actual check for his work for CNN, or is CNN's declaration that he was correct when the facts clearly establish otherwise payment enough for his services?

    January 29, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. Slider


    Why don't you just state the bloody obvious: Obama lied.

    Obama lied about C-SPAN just as he lied about not wanting single-payer.

    Obama and his administration think that the American people are stupid. He'll say one thing, then there's a video of him saying the exact opposite of what position he currently holds.

    And he expects us NOT to notice?!!?

    George Orwell wrote a book about this stuff, honey.

    January 29, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. Tony in Maine

    The meeting was an example why the meetings weren't televised. On seeing the little red light on the camera and realizing they held a live mic, most of the Congressmen launched into a speech using charged words – boutique tax cuts, Carter's ideas, and on and on and on...ad nauseum.

    The solution is to have more meetings where posturing is not productive. But that doesn't sound good.

    BTW – how many reading this right now would choose C-Span over American Idol or even a basketball game between a couple of small college teams.

    January 29, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Bob (Illinois)

    Now, wait a minute. There are some negotiations which should NOT be done in public. Both parties must have privacy at some point in their internal discussions.

    Politics can be very messy whether we like it or not.

    January 29, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. pat win

    what is the republican plan for healthcare?what they going to do about 40mil plus people w/o health ins let them all die?

    January 29, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. Carl Justus

    The republicans would have criticized the process if if was done in times square with all the telivisions stations broadcasting in real time.

    January 29, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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