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Biden Uses The Bully Pulpit To Take Back The Narrative

That video above shows a series of one-two punches from Bernie and Biden chief of staff Ron Klain. Biden's had a couple of lousy weeks, with Republicans and the corporate media-- and even some spineless military-industrial-type Democrats who were recruited by the feckless DCCC over the last couple of cycles-- pouncing on him for how "sloppy" the extraction of the occupation apparatus was from Kabul. Yesterday, Biden refocused the country on beating the pandemic of the unvaccinated. "People who were not fully vaccinated this spring and summer," wrote Lena Sun and Joel Achenbach, "were over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die of covid-19 than those who were fully vaccinated, according to one of three major studies published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlight the continued efficacy of all three vaccines amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant... 'We have the scientific tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic,' CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House covid-19 briefing Friday. 'Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of covid-19.'"

And Biden didn't stop there. Look at this poll Morning Consult did for Politico earlier this summer. Notice how popular Biden's healthcare proposals, the ones being backing by conservatives in Congress-- the Republicans plus Manchin and Sinema in the Senate and the Blue Dogs led by Josh Gottheimer, Kurt Schrader and Henry Cuellar in the House-- are with registered voters. And not just with registered Democrats. When asked if they support or oppose allowing the U.S. to negotiate prescription drug prices through Medicare, 66% of voters support and just 18% oppose, Even among Republican voters, support is solid-- 53% in favor and just 25% opposed.

Margot Sanger-Katz wrote that on Thursday Biden "endorsed an aggressive proposal to limit prices for prescription drugs, calling for the government to negotiate with drug makers on prices and applying those prices not just to Medicare but to all drug purchasers in the country." That's exactly what 53% of Republicans want (as well as 78% of Biden's own party's voters). Have any Republican congressmen and governors started lawsuits yet. Kristi Noem? Madison Cawthorn? Marjorie Traitor Greene? One of the reactionaries-- the moron governor of South Carolina-- was on Twitter today claiming Biden had declared war on capitalism. His proposals actually are meant to "foster more competition among drugmakers." Presumably what McMaster was upset about is that the proposals "improve the affordability of drugs for patients enrolled in Medicare." When Southern conservatives and racists like McMaster hear that, they only hear one thing: our former property that was stolen from us (ie, slaves) are getting something for free that we have to pay for."

The administration cannot make such large changes on its own; it amounts to a signal to congressional Democrats. Democratic leaders in Congress have suggested that they hope to regulate prices in some way as part of the $3.5 trillion legislative package now being considered. The House passed a bill with similar provisions in 2019, but senators working on the package have released few policy details as they wrestle with their approach.
Steve Ubl, the C.E.O. of the industry trade group PhRMA, called the policy “an existential risk to the industry.” Major across-the-board price reductions would result in reduced revenues for drug companies, and could hurt companies’ ability to spend on research as well as cause smaller companies to close if investors leave the sector, he said. His group and the companies it represents have mobilized to fight such a plan.
Drug price regulation represents a crucial piece of the still-developing Democratic package because it is one of the few proposed policies that could reduce, rather than increase, federal spending.
Any policy that substantially reduces drug prices has the potential to save the government a lot of money. The federal government pays a large share of drugs for patients with Medicare, and subsidizes insurance plans that purchase drugs for other Americans.
This new approach could help fund other expensive priorities, such as expanding Medicare benefits to cover dental care, and providing insurance coverage to uninsured people in states that have not expanded Medicaid. An approach that lowers drug prices less would leave less funding available for those other goals.
High prescription drug prices are a major consumer issue, one that voters consistently identify as a top concern. Reducing their prices could matter for many American households.
But broad price controls like the one endorsed by the white paper could encounter both political and logistical problems. The pharmaceutical industry has long opposed government price negotiations of any sort in the United States, and some Democratic lawmakers are sympathetic to their concerns that price restrictions could stymie innovation and hamper future drug development.

"Some Democratic lawmakers" means corrupt conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, the Blue Dogs and New Dems. When you decide to vote for a so-called "lesser of two evils" candidate-- thinking a Blue Dog or New Dem like Gottheimer or Spanberger are better than a Republican... that's what leads to a Democratic Party that can't do anything put take PAC checks from shady outfits like PhRMA. Last cycle, the dozen biggest recipients in the House of direct sewer money from PhRMA:

  • Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

  • Robin Kelly (D-IL)

  • Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)

  • Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)

  • Brad Schneider (Blue Dog-IL)

  • Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)

  • Steve Scalise (R-LA)

  • Linda Sanchez (D-CA)

  • Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

  • Raul Ruiz (New Dem-CA)

  • Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)

  • Derek Kilmer (New Dem-CA)

While most other Western governments negotiate directly with companies over prices, the United States has done so only in very limited contexts. Medicare is currently barred from negotiating over drug prices under law. Most commercial health plans negotiate with drug companies for discounts below their advertised prices, but their success varies depending on the type of drug and the number of choices on the market.
In general, American drug purchasers pay substantially higher prices for drugs than their counterparts in other developed countries. A recent paper from the RAND Corporation cited in the government proposal estimates that prescription drugs in the United States cost more than 250 percent of the prices paid by other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Are there any Republicans talking about this problem constructively? None on Congress, although last night Chris Christie-- making a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library as a signal he wants to be part of the 2024 GOP presidential debate-- warned his fellow Republicans that they're wasting time and demising the party brand by refusing to facet reality that Trump lost in 2020. He told his audience that "We need to give our supporters facts that will help them put all those fantasies to rest so everyone can focus with clear minds on the issues that really matter. We need to quit wasting our time, our energy, and our credibility on claims that won't ever convince anyone of anything. All this lying has done harm to our nation, to our party, and to each other."

Without mentioning Trump by name, he called on his fellow Republicans to help discredit the "extremists in our midst" and no matter how rich he is, he isn't "worthy of blind faith and obedience." Trump hasn't

responded yet.

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