Pressure builds to undo Rahm’s sweetheart deal with the drug industry

NOTE FROM JOHN: Remember, you’re paying 3x to 5x as much for the same drug, sold by the same company, as people in Europe, Canada, and pretty much the rest of the world. Why? Because our govt. doesn’t protect you from the drug companies like every other govt does. Because of bs like Joe is reporting below.

The Hill takes a look at the deal Rahm Emanuel cut with the drug industry. It’s one of the most controversial aspects of the reform bill moving through Congress:

In the deal crafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and approved by Emanuel, drug companies agreed not to oppose healthcare reform and even help pay for it. The industry agreed to cut the cost of brand-name prescription drugs for seniors by $80 billion over 10 years, covering about half of those seniors who fall into the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole.”

In return, Baucus and White House officials said they would support a reform package that would not include the drug importation measure nor the measure to allow the government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries, according to a report in The New York Times.

A number of Senate Democrats, led by Byron Dorgan (ND), are trying to fix this mess. They know this deal undermined Democratic policy. But, you know a deal for a big business is a bad deal when a Republican member of Congress is ready to trash it:

When the House defied a veto threat from President George W. Bush and passed the re-importation bill in 2003, Emanuel and other proponents of the legislation congratulated each other on the House floor.

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), who was among those who worked with Emanuel on that bill, said she does not understand why her former colleague agreed to the deal.

“PhRMA got off easy,” she said.

Yes, Pharma got off very easy. Rahm got rolled. He’s supposed to be so tough and smart and savvy. But, he only seems to use his vaunted powers against liberal groups trying to get real reform. Rahm’s powers are apparently useless against everybody else.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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