Monday, August 10, 2009

Big Pharma sweetheart deal: $80 billion for what??

This morning I opened my email to the regular spam, Facebook notifications, family and friend correspondence, and several from liberal and conservative sources. David Axelrod sent an email to me, probably millions of others, warning me of the “rumors and scare tactics” being engaged in by those disrupting town hall meetings. In fact, based on several media sources, only two town hall meetings in recent days have produced outbursts that led to arrests or injuries.

In David Axelrod’s a new online resource has been launched to combat conservative attempts to de-rail health care reform; Whitehouse.gov/realitycheck. Mr. Axelrod goes onto say, “We knew going into this effort that accomplishing comprehensive health insurance reform wasn’t going to be easy. Achieving real change never is. The entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo always use their influence in Washington to try and keep things just as they are.” The core of the White House plan is to establish a public option to drive costs down within the market and Mr. Axelrod is saying that “entrenched interests” are trying influence Washington.

Last week the White House announced a deal brokered with Big Pharma to cut $80 billion from future drug costs. Are we to assume or does the White House feel Americans are naïve to believe that Big Pharma receives no benefit from the deal struck? During George W. Bush’s time in office a similar deal was struck between the White House and Big Pharma in regards to Medicare. The goal of that deal was to lower drug prices; yet Big Pharma has enjoyed booming profits since that time.


As Robert Reich wrote yesterday on his blog, “Let me remind you: Any bonanza for the drug industry means higher health-care costs for the rest of us, which is one reason why critics of the emerging healthcare plans, including the Congressional Budget Office, are so worried about their failure to adequately stem future healthcare costs. To be sure, as part of its deal with the White House, Big Pharma apparently has promised to cut future drug costs by $80 billion. But neither the industry nor the White House nor any congressional committee has announced exactly where the $80 billion in savings will show up nor how this portion of the deal will be enforced. In any event, you can bet that the bonanza Big Pharma will reap far exceeds $80 billion. Otherwise, why would it have agreed?”


To add to the pot, Big Pharma is running ads on television and radio in support of the White House plan. Once again, do our politicians believe that Americans are naïve to believe that Big Pharma will not, as Robert Reich put it, “reap” the rewards of future profits far beyond the $80 billion plus advertising? Where is the transparency the president promised us? It is time for Americans to shed the cloak of apathy and step to the soapbox to let the voice be heard.

For those that read my blog that live in Minnesota here is a list of our representation in Washington. Find yours and call them. No matter which side of the aisle you fall on. We all agree that reform is needed but let’s make sure reform is done correctly and not rush things through. We do not need another entitlement program that will be broke in ten or twenty years.

Senators


Amy Klobuchar – 612-727-5220
Al Franken – 651-221-1016

Representatives


1st Congressional District – Timothy Walz – 507-206-0643
2nd Congressional District – John Kline – 952-808-1213
3rd Congressional District – Erik Paulsen – 952-405-8510
4th Congressional District – Betty McCollum – 651-224-9191
5th Congressional District – Keith Ellison – 612-522-1212
6th Congressional District – Michele Bachmann – 320-253-5931
7th Congressional District – Collin Peterson – 218-847-5056
8th Congressional District – James Oberstar – 218-727-7474


For those not residing in Minnesota you can obtain your Representative by going to http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml and clicking on your state. To obtain your Senators go to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Let your voice be heard. Do not give power to those in Congress by continuing down the path of political apathy. Change is a coming and it is time that Americans voice their thoughts. Opinionate, theorize, debate, and discuss like our Forefathers did. Those elected to Congress need to be reminded that they report to us the American citizen. The American citizen is their CEO.