Free Markets, Free People

The Plan: Compromise Anything To Pass Health Care Reform

Something to consider.


During the presidential election campaign, candidate Obama said, about re-importing drugs from foreign lands that cost less:

“We’ll tell the pharmaceutical companies ‘thanks, but no, thanks’ for the overpriced drugs—drugs that cost twice as much here as they do in Europe and Canada,”


Democratic senators got a bit closer to passing health care reform last night, but not without first voting down a controversial proposal that would have allowed for the direct importation of prescription drugs, a cause many of them once pushed for.


Supporting the measure might have broken a deal the White House made with drugmakers—they’d support the overhaul efforts if the administration didn’t push them to give up more than $80 billion in revenue—and yesterday Obama pushed Democratic senators not to let small issues get in the way of passing the health care legislation.

So. As progressives will be glad to point out, “Big Pharma” wins. Well, yes and no. Essentially what happened is the status quo was left intact here in exchange for Pharma not dumping billions in opposition to health care. It’s a bribe. And something libertarians and the right need to understand is big business has no qualms or problems whatsoever going into cahoots with big government if they can help write the legislation to protect themselves or hurt their competition. In this case, it was a matter of self protection. And, unsurprisingly, Obama went along with it despite his promise not too. I only point out the fact that he completely flipped on the subject as a matter of record, not that it is particularly surprising or unexpected.

More disturbing is the highlighted sentence. That’s the quarterback calling an audible at the line. Pass anything, we’ll add to it or fix it later, but get something passed into law immediately.

Which brings us to the point of the ‘rhetoric v. reality’ part of this. The rhetoric will say “we’re dropping the Medicare buy-in and the public option”. Reality –and history (see SCHIP)- says that passing something called health care without them only means that they’ll do so to get a law on the books, and then you can count on them attempting again to pass both a further Medicare buy-in and the public option.

Their aim is a single payer system – by any means necessary.



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18 Responses to The Plan: Compromise Anything To Pass Health Care Reform

  • It has been a while since I looked into this but if I remember correctly the re-importing of drugs is a flight from economic reality type of policy.
    It goes like this.  BigPharma sells drugX to Canada but it doesn’t sell it to individuals in Canada because they have a government run system.  The government buys all the drugs and then distributes them as they see fit.  Since the Canadian government is the only buyer they have quite a bit of power in setting the price they’ll pay.  There are pros and cons to this but that is not the point.  The point is that the Canadian government is the buyer and they are doing so with the taxes they collect from their citizens.  If they were to sell these drugs back to US citizens then the end result would be Canadian citizens subsidizing US drug purchases with Canadian tax dollars.  Needless to say that such an arrange will go over like a lead balloon.
    The day the US allows the re-importation of drugs from a country like Canada is the day a country like Canada bans the re-exportation of imported drugs from the US.

    • This is a prime example that indicates the real intent of this legislation has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with political control.  They could care less if they decrease cost or increase coverage or anything of the sort.  So long as they can hold the masses to their breast and show them they are beholden to the democrats (ala the elderly and social security, etc) is everything.

    • The Canadian government will and has blocked drugs if it couldn’t get their desired price.  So basically they tell the drug companies that they can sell it with a profit wrt to manufacturing costs, but none of the R&D or certification overhead.
      Say in the US a drug is $0.10 to make per pill, but the company needs $1.00 to recover their R&D, certification, etc. costs.  In the US they’ll charge $1.00 for it.
      In Canada they will let them charge $0.15 for it.
      Since the company will sell for a high price in the US recovering their costs in the US market already, additional pills sold at $0.15 is still a $0.05 profit.  This is over selling zero pills whatsoever in Canada.  So the company goes along.

  • Well, two can play this game.  It is Wednesday afternoon and Bernie Sanders (PRVt – Peoples Republic of Vermont) offered a 767 page amendment to the Senate Bill reinstating single-payer as the primary health insurance provider.  Everyone knows it will be defeated but Bernie insisted and when introducing the bill asked for Universal Consent on the reading of the Bill.  Coburn (R/OK) objected and insisted upon the reading of the entire bill.  It took over an hour just to read through the table of contents.  It is estimated that it will take over 12 hors for the House Page to read the bill.

    Jim Demint has indicated he will insist on reading the entire bill when it comes up for cloture vote later in the week.
    LOL!!  I’m loving it!  Finally the Republicans are showing some cajones!

  • This explains a lot …

    The White House Council of Economic Advisers just released a report arguing that the reforms before Congress would reduce the growth in health costs, cut the federal budget deficits and produce thousands of dollars in benefits for the average family. The problem is that just a few days earlier a report from the president’s own chief health care actuary concluded that the bill the Senate is considering would actually increase U.S. health spending by $234 billion over the next 10 years and hurt seniors’ access to care.

    I guess I can assume that these are the same “Economic Advisers” that said the “stimulus” would cap unemployment a 8%.  We might just be on to something here.

  • Checkout Glenn Greenwald on this:
    It’s all a giveaway to the Insurance industry with full collusion of both corporate ‘parties.’  And was planned from the beginning.

  • It’s about time Congress is actually going to read a piece of legislation before voting on it.  Will there be a test on the material?

  • Quite right McQ.  That’s why all this hand wringing over the loss of the public option is misplaced.  What we need to do is get the camels nose into the tent.  And, ugly as it is, this bill will get us there.  We can always punish Lieberman later.  Any health care bill is better than doing nothing and we can always improve it afterwards.

    • “We”?
      Don’t lump me in with you people.

    • Any health care bill is better than doing nothing and we can always improve it afterwards.

      Translated from liberal-speak to English: “Anything that increases our control over you peons is better than the alternative. Any holes we leave in exertion of control now to fool enough moderates into going along, we’ll find a way to plug later.”

      • Translation from Libertarian to English: Run for your lives boys, here comes them black helicopters again.

  • Wow – do you mean that the Demmies will simply sell-out, all in the name of “progress.”

    And here I thought that they had no values.

  • You know, I think the Republicans should push for the allowance of re-imports.
    That way Big Pharma will end up having to have global pricing – not just American high prices and everybody else bargain basement.
    When that happens, the nationalized healthcare countries will see their budgets soar and the US would see pricing come down. Ha ha ha – that would be sweet.

  • I’m wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of these companies were shown both a carrot and stick.

  • This Death Care bill is just killing the Demmies:

    Obama better be looking for a Plan C, because Plan A has failed, as has Plan B.