fresh voices from the front lines of change







Almost as telling as the fact that a whopping 62% of Republicans think the federal government should stay out of Medicare is the following vignette.

First, let’s make sure everyone is up to speed on the so-called “PhRMA Deal”, which was essentially a detente agreement between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry. The gist of the deal is that in order to gain pharma support for health care reform, and secure a public commitment to cut $80 billion in health care costs, the White House agreed to hold its guns and not put added pressure on Congress for the inclusion of Medicare-bulk drug pricing as part of this health care reform bill.

The agreement did not mean that these drug pricing reforms couldn’t be part of the reform bill, it just meant that the White House wouldn’t actively push them. Also, as soon as this reform bill passed, all bets were off and the White House would be free to seek these policies. That is essentially it. If you’d like to read more about it, I would encourage you to read Marc Ambinder’s summary.

So you have an industry, indisputably out to make profit above all, making a cost-benefit calculation and deciding that taking a moderate hit in profits from health care reform would be preferable, if it meant living to fight another day and keeping real drug pricing reforms off the table, at least for a time. It made financial sense to them. Everyone gets what they need, and everyone leaves happy. Right?


There is apparently one group out there more concerned with maximizing pharmaceutical industry profits than even the pharmaceutical industry itself: Conservatives. Talking Points Memo reports:

An angry John Boehner has sent a heat-seeking missive to a former caucus mate: former GOP Rep, and current PhRMA president Billy Tauzin.

In the letter, which Boehner forwarded to the executives of PhRMA’s member companies, the House Minority Leader charges that PhRMA’s alliance with the White House on health care reform amounts to appeasement. “Appeasement rarely works as a conflict resolution strategy,” Boehner writes. “The simple truth is, two wrongs don’t make a right. And the short-sighted health care deal PhRMA struck with the Obama Administration at your urging provides confirmation of this time-tested maxim on an epic and tragic scale.”

Yes, House Minority Leader John Boehner is actually berating the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies for giving up too much, for not doing enough to maximize their profits. Seriously. He is actually angry at them, for not being greedy enough!

How far up a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist’s colon do you have to nest in order to care more about padding their already rich CEO’s wallet more than they themselves do??

I couldn’t be more surprised if I were watching an action movie in which a S.W.A.T. team was moving in to free a bunch of hostages only to observe, upon gaining entrance, the hostages taking the guns from their captors and beginning to shoot the good guys themselves, for lack of zeal on the part of the kidnappers.

Of course it is a bad analogy, and of course I’m not surprised. Conservatives in Congress are anything but the captives of corporate America–they are more like their faithful henchmen (average Americans are the real victims at the end of the day). But it is incredibly revealing how invested conservatives are in securing corporate profits, at the expense of all other considerations. They don’t even try to hid it anymore.

Gone are the days when corporate lobbyists have to come to Congress to make their case. Now there is no need, because the likes of John Boehner will just push them aside and say “Look, you aren’t doing it right, let me handle this!”

Classic Boehner.

Did you really expect anything different?

Oh, and don’t think we didn’t notice the careful choice of the word “appeasement”, a clever way to bring to mind the appeasement of Hitler pre-WWII. Way to feed the crazy.

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