Monday, July 11, 2011

Shared Sacrifice?

Well, we've managed to find another subset freed from the concept of shared sacrifice: pharmaceutical companies. Big surprise there, eh?

From the Los Angeles Times:

As the president and congressional leaders look for savings as part of a major debt deal, the pharmaceutical industry has stepped up its behind-the-scenes lobbying to kill proposals that it contribute to any compromise.

President Obama this spring said drug makers should offer discounts to low-income seniors who receive government subsidized health coverage through both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

And with pressure growing to cut federal support for state Medicaid programs and to force seniors on Medicare to pay more for their care, many liberal lawmakers are demanding that pharmaceutical companies chip in more, as well.
[Emphasis added]

The discounts offered to this particular subset of elders (on both Medicaid and Medicare) could result in a savings of $112 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's a significant chunk of change, which even Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles acknowledged. But PHARMA isn't willing to play ball. It also isn't willing to have any public debate about it, preferring instead a tried and true method of getting its way.

...behind the scenes, industry lobbyists have been rallying its allies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere to resist the new demands.

And because PHARMA is a really heavy hitter when it comes campaign donations, the pharmaceuticals are quite happy to leave the sacrificing to the poor and elderly.

Well, at least the Los Angeles Times was good enough to get the word out anyway. It'll at least give Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) some cover as he tries to push for those discounts.

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