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How Will Big PhRMA And The GOP Fight Back Against Lower Drug Prices?

By Flooding The Airwaves With Twisted Ads

Piyush Jindal (AKA- “Bobby”) served as governor of Louisiana from January, 2008 to January, 2016. Previously he had been a slick consulting operative for McKinsey— same kind of disingenuous creature as Mayo Pete— and was then appointed to head the state’s Department of Heath and Hospitals (age 24). He quickly skipped over to serve in George W. Bush’s Health and Human Services Department, before running for governor, losing and then running immediately— and successfully— for Congress, where he served for 2 terms before running for governor again, this time successfully. Since 2008 he’s been trying to run for Vice President and President. A multimillionaire, he currently serves on the board of Hornbeck Offshore Services, a supplier of offshore transport services, is an investor in the health care industry and is head of the health care arm of the Trumpist think tank, the America First Policy Institute, despite having once called Trump “a carnival act.”

He founded a dark money SuperPAC, America Next, which, as of today, is running the utterly deceitful television ad above in West Virginia, urging Joe Manchin to vote against the Democrats’ reconciliation package, the package that allows Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drug prices and extends subsidies for Obamacare. The false GOP version is that a bill that will actually lower the cost of drugs is to assert that it will destroy Medicare. No one believes that, including Republicans but they assume if they say it loudly and frequently enough, they will be able to frighten and confuse seniors and make the bill unpopular, which is exactly what PhRMA has managed to do for decades. Look at this Data For Progress poll from April. Voters were asked how they feel about giving Medicare the power to negotiate cheaper drug prices, precisely what the reconciliation bill the GOP and their corporate donors oppose. A starling 83% of voters support the idea, including 86% of Democrats, and 81% of both independents and even Republicans! Republicans will be working overtime to kill it, which is why they've rolled out former "boy genius" Piyush Jindal.

Ted Lieu (D-CA), who helps direct House Democratic policy messaging, took one look at Jindal's ad and told me that "The GOP is once again gaslighting the American people. Democrats are fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security. Republicans want to end those programs. The fact Republicans are doing misleading ads shows the GOP is scared of how Americans view Republicans’ incessant desire to cut Medicare and Social Security."

Another outstanding California progressive, Rep. Ro Khanna: "Let’s get the facts straight. The reconciliation bill will save nearly $300 billion over the next 10 years by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices-- an estimate that comes from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Anyone who claims these savings will cut funding from Medicare programs or its beneficiaries is intentionally undermining our efforts to make prescriptions affordable for every American."

Washington state progressive congressional candidate Jason Call also watched the ad. "Not surprisingly," he said, "this ad is heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry’s dark money and the language used is entirely deceptive. It also highlights the schizophrenic nature of the right wing regarding any government funded social programs like Medicare. ‘Government is bad and wasteful and can’t do anything right, but wait, government is also bad for cutting spending!’ And let’s be clear, Joe Manchin and his pharma supporters couldn’t care less about struggling seniors who can’t afford their medications. This is all about ensuring the pharmaceutical industry can continue raking in massive profits through price gouging. What the ad is referring to is simply the Build Back Better plan to repeal part of the ‘noninterference’ regulations that prevents HHS from negotiating drug prices (which is why our medications cost 10x what they cost in Canada). So the actual cost savings from negotiation are being disingenuously characterized as a cut to Medicare. What the actual fuck? But this is standard operating procedure for the GOP. And as a side note, Bobby Jindal’s America Next PAC, which is promoting this ad, had this to say on their website’s mission statement: 'We’ve said what we are against. But shame on us if we don’t put pen to paper and begin selling the American public on a new policy direction for this country.' Laughable.”


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