Friday, September 18, 2009

This is what I don't like about the Obama White House and Big PhRma

Candidate Barack Obama campaigned on the big drug giveaways of the Bush Administration with Medicare D, but now the Obama White House has done the same thing that the Bush Administration did; negotiate away the option of purchasing cheaper drugs outside of the United States.

I don't know if any one out there has relatives, friends that can not afford prescription drugs, but I do.

This is one reason why many are skeptical of what this White House will do, because they were not forthcoming in this BigPhrma deal, remember they said it was not true, only to have to fess up that the sweetheart deal was made in the heat of the night. Not much for transperency, here. Since Senator Max Baucus' bill is now out in the open, in the bill is just about VERBATIM, the deal that he and the White House made with Big PhRma.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America senior vice president Ken Johnson said that the outline "is simply not accurate." White House spokesman Reid Cherlin concurred: "This memo isn't accurate and does not reflect the agreement with the drug companies."

But now that the bill is out, let's fact check those denials.

The memo also listed four things the committee and the White House agreed to keep out of the bill.

1) Drug makers wanted Baucus and the White House to block Democratic efforts to allow cheaper drugs to be shipped in from Canada. There's nothing in the finance bill that allows that. Check.

2) Some Democrats wanted PhRMA to give the federal government rebates for what it considered past excess charges; the memo says the White House agreed to oppose those rebates, and the bill doesn't include any. Check.

3) As agreed, the bill does not overturn a GOP law -- pushed originally by chief pharmaceutical lobbyist Billy Tauzin, when he was in Congress -- that bans the government from negotiating for cheaper prescription drug prices. Check.

4) Democrats wanted to shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Part D, a move PhRMA opposed because it would reduce reimbursement rates. The administration agreed not to include that provision, according to the memo, and it's not in the Baucus bill. Check.

Performing any kind of reform must include the pharmecutical industry. This industry, like the health care industry, has been gouging Americans for years. Candidate Obama campaigned for the very abuse of this industry, including calling out the Medicare D bill by the Bush Administration that forces no negotiating for cheaper drugs prices outside of the United States.

In the end, we will get a bill, but what kind of bill? If it is a sham bill, a bill the White House will settle for and call it reform, they are in for a rude awakening. This tactic would have worked in the 1990s during the Clinton fight, but not today. There is too much information at a stroke of a key, to dispute a sham bill. Also, the notion of settling for anything, may not work either. Remember, Barack Obama and the Democrats were put in office for CHANGE, if they don't bring major change to this health care bill, loss of support will be imminent.


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