Friday, August 7, 2009

Obama confirms sellout

Billy Tauzin of Louisiana was a founder of the Blue Dog Democrats, but decided in 1995 that the Blue Dogs were way too liberal, and became a Republican. Later, he helped to "negotiate" the Bush administration's creation of Medicare part D -- the drug plan -- which specifically forbids Medicare administrators to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies or even consider re-importing lower-cost drugs from Canada.

Almost immediately after that towering legislative achievement, Tauzin left the House to become the leader of PhRMA, the drug lobby. Earlier this week, Tauzin was hopping mad. It seems that Democrats in the House had the audacity to think that the drug cartel ought to kick in cost savings somewhat greater than the eighty billion dollars over ten years which the Obama administration agreed to for the purpose of getting Harry and Louise on its side. Taubin insisted that the administration affirm the eighty-billion-dollar agreement.

Obama, who does not have his predecessor's flair for lying, confirmed the deal.

One of the real advantages of leaving the details of health care reform to Congress is that Congress does not have to go along with half-assed deals agreed to by the administration. One only can hope that Congress will do the right thing, and pass a bill that endorses negotiation of drug prices by Medicare, Medicaid, and the much maligned public option that had damned well better be part of the final bill.

I can't see Obama vetoing a health care bill, no matter how inadequate it turns out to be. Let's just hope whatever comes out of Congress is better than what we have now, and that both the Executive and Legislative branches show some guts. If a strong House bill and a weak Senate bill go to conference committee, the administration can strongly influence what comes out.

That's when we can find out if Obama actually has some liberal inclinations, or if he's just another unprincipled pol like Bill Clinton.

If it ever gets that far.

Mark Twain called it "the best Congress money can buy." We'll see.

1 comment:

Dave said...

According to the WH the deal was cut between three parties - the WH, Baucus and PhRMA:
The agreement, which was reached between Sen. Baucus, Administration officials, and the nation’s pharmaceutical companies, will ultimately reduce the price of prescription drugs by half for millions of America’s seniors. As part of the upcoming health care reform legislation, drug manufacturers that participate in Medicare Part D will either pay a rebate to Medicare or offer a substantial discount of at least 50 percent on prescription drugs to seniors who fall within the infamous "doughnut hole"— payments between $2700 and $6153.75 not covered by Medicare. The deal will help close this unfair gap in coverage, providing relief for millions of seniors who have been burdened by these out-of-pocket expenses, making it easier for them to get the prescriptions that they need.
WH: A Significant Breakthrough to Assist Our Seniors