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Pharma's Big Bribe Comes In - Matt Taibbi - A Must Read!

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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:11 AM
Original message
Pharma's Big Bribe Comes In - Matt Taibbi - A Must Read!
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 11:14 AM by debbierlus
http://trueslant.com/matttaibbi/2009/09/14/phrmas-big-b...

"The drug industrys trade group plans to roll out a series of television advertisements in coming weeks specifically to support Senator Max Baucuss health care overhaul proposal, according to an industry official involved in the planning".....

Ive been completely out of the loop with the health care story these last week and half or so, out of touch actually with the entire earth (Ive been on a deadline on another story), but upon returning to work today I began getting calls about some alarming maneuverings in congress. Were apparently finally seeing delivery of the Big Bribe that President Obama and Rahm Emanuel extracted from that pharmaceutical industry in exchange for dropping drug-pricing reform in the health care bill.

To recap: PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, earlier this year announced that it would be setting aside $150 million to pay for an ad campaign supporting the Presidents health care bill. The deal was apparently struck in July, after former Louisiana congressman and current PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin (Rod Blagojevichs underdog opponent in the upcoming semifinal match of the Corrupt Scumbag of the Century So Far tournament) met with Rahm and other Obama aides in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Also in attendance were representatives of the usual panoply of awful medical corporations, including Abbott laboratories, Merck, and Pfizer. It was in this meeting that the White House agreed to sell out health care reform in exchange for a few bucks to fund the next couple of election cycles.

Tauzin, who has never been one for subtlety or finesse (he took his $2 million-a-year PhRMA job about ten seconds after he finished pushing through the Prescription Drug Benefit bill), stupidly later revealed some of the contents of that shady meeting, saying that the White House had blessed a plan involving the $150 million. He disclosed to reporters that he had extracted a promise from the White House to drop two important reforms: one, to allow the government to negotiate bulk rates for drugs in Medicare, and the other to permit the importation of cheap drugs from Canada (which was once an Obama campaign saw).

The only problem with this plan, from the White Houses side, was that not all of the presidents fellow Democrats played along. Specifically, Energy and Commerce chair Henry Waxman put a provision in his health care bill that allowed the government to negotiate lower rates. If Waxmans language were to be allowed to survive, it would queer the White Houses deal.

So heres what started happening to kill Waxmans language. First of all, PhRMA started paying its bribe.
The $150 million it committed to support Obamas bill is now being rolled out in pro-reform ads, which are being aired mostly in the districts of freshman congressmen. The ads are cheesy, half-hearted tripe blandly supporting the weak-as-fuck remnants of Obamas health care plan, an example being this Eight Ways Health Reform Matters To You ad that salutes the end of coverage denials for those with pre-existing conditions

Now were also seeing pressure from a group of freshmen and Blue Dogs, who have composed a letter to a quartet of House Committee chairs requesting that the Waxman language be removed from the health care bill and replaced with the PhRMA language, which happens to be the language the White House is pushing and which will appear in the Baucus bill in the Senate. The pro-PhRMA language retains the preposterous government subsidy to the pharmaceutical industry in the form of laws banning Medicare from negotiating market rates. It is completely useless and of no possible social benefit to anyone except pharmaceutical companies, but this group still managed to get 60 people to sign this letter.

What does this letter say? Does it argue that the PhRMA language is better for America than the Waxman language? Does it say it will cost taxpayers less and provide cheaper drugs to more people? Hilariously, no. What it says is that this PhRMA language, while worse than the Waxman language, is not quite so bad as you think (it doesnt save as much as the Waxman language, but it still has a 50 percent price reduction, which isnt terrible!). Moreover, the letter says, substituting this language will help the bill get passed! Heres the actual language, addressed primarily to Waxman:

Your efforts to remove this onerous burden on Medicare beneficiaries are to be greatly commended. However the commitment by President Obama and the AARP to support legislation that would provide a 50 percent reduction is a dramatic step forward in helping fill the doughnut hole. Equally important, it moves us toward our goal of health care legislation.

In other words, your attempt to put in a real reform is cool and all, but PhRMA has us by the balls, so help us out

Read the whole thing......http://trueslant.com/matttaibbi/2009/09/14/phrmas-big-b...
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
:kick:
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
2. chess, anyone? nt
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. And one more time...
Where's that "hope" and "change" we were promised?

How long will it be before we're permitted to criticize President Obama?

And a cliche -- when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

:eyes:
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. No shit....I am getting more and more impatient with continuation of 'business as usual' in D.C..
...no torture investigations, no repeal of the unpatriot act, wire-taps continue, Gitmo is still open, INCREASED military presence in Afghanistan and no roll-back of the tax-gifts to the rich...

Meanwhile Banks and Auto companies get bailed out, and now big Pharma sticks their greedy mitts further into the tax-payers back pocket...

Sorry, but when does the "change" begin exactly?
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. +1
:evilgrin:
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. Facts on the ground?
In this age of faith-based governance? What cheek! What impertinance!

K&R!
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nyc 4 Biden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. kayandare, Taibbi FTW!
Matt Taibbi strikes again. The White House compromising with big Pharma is a big disappointment.
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ChiciB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. So What Say You About Obama's Speech He Just Gave?? I Think I'm Confused
all over again! Forgive me, I just can't "follow" all the "fuzzy" words I hear! I can't get a grasp as to WHAT EXACTLY Obama is saying!! I tried asking at another thread, but it was one of those "Ga-Ga-Glam" I Love Obama threads. I really don't fit in there and they just answer with more "cheer-leading" because he was on Tee-Vee again!

I need so much HELP because I think I've lost it somewhere! I KNOW I'm not stupid, I have a good education, still there's SOMETHING I seem to be missing!



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nyc 4 Biden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Sorry, didn't see his speech.
I just think Obama is trying to appease to many parties, and instead should be driving the dems in congress to pass a strong bill.

Don't feel alone, this is a complex issue with much back dealing, even the "experts" lack a true grasp of the situation.
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. There's a fine line between "compromise" on one hand,
and connivance and conspiracy on the other.

Actually come to think of it, it's not a fine line at all.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
5. Sigh..
I wish I could say I'm surprised..
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bkkyosemite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
9. I just emailed the White House and said no deals with pharma you promised! Market value for
for Medicare meds pharma and insurance industry can go to hell. You promised President Obama and I'm a momma watching to see if your promises are true!!! No pharma deals cheap drugs from Cananda, negoiate for cheaper drugs for Medicare..NO DEALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everyone should be telling Obama what they think. I have many times and will keep on keeping.
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
10. I would like to take a moment to thank the DU administrator's

Who have been great about ensuring that substantive posts about the health care reform (and other issues) get front page journal coverage....

The front page journals have been great selections, overall. Many truly get to the heart of the issues, and again, a sincere note of thanks to those who make sure they are put front and center.
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ChiciB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. I Do Check Out What You Have To Say... & Thank You Too For Some
very good information and what you're trying to do too!

:thumbsup:
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
15. Three more lost today.
In the course of my day I had conversations with three different people about politics.

The first were a mother and daughter who worked many hours with me during the last election. They delivered signs, knocked on doors, and spent a lot of emotional and physical energy helping get Obama elected. They were definitely enthusiasts. The daughter was an Obama delegate who voted at the precinct convention. Both are totally disillusioned. They indicated that they were unlikely to participate in another election the way they did lost Fall. They cited giving our health care over to the corporations as a big reason. The mother remembers many conversations she had in neighbor's kitchens and stranger's living rooms while canvassing. She feels ashamed that she promised many that voting Democratic would change that. She feels like she needs to apologize.

Another was a college student - another tireless worker for Obama, but in another city. The continuation of the war and not bringing the last administration's criminals to trial were the breaking point for him. He's thinking of living in another country.

This is the change that we wrought. I would like to think that by this time next year, we will all be surprised by the adept way the president and his men have turned things around. But then I've always been a hopeless dreamer. Now it's more just hopeless.
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nc4bo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
16. Too bad that 150 million won't be used to actually help sick people get medical care. nt
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TommyPaine Donating Member (300 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:25 AM
Response to Original message
17. Matt Taibbi's always worth a read.
Another great piece. Almost made be throw up in my mouth, but still a great piece.
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voteearlyvoteoften Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
18. Kick for my man Taibbi
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
19. kick
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
20. Error: you can only recommend threads which were started in the past 24 hours
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paparush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
21. Government of the Profit, by the Profit, for the Profit is still alive and well.
I hear that Sotomayor is rattling the "corporations as persons" cage. I hope she rattles it hard.
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