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Pay A Republican Enough And They'll Make The Case For Higher Drug Prices With A Straight Face

Every time Gallup does its poll on honesty and ethics in professions, lobbyists come out at or near the bottom (63% low or very low), along with Members of Congress (62%) and telemarketers (59%). Big PhRMA sleazeball Merrill Matthews is all over the media and he’s never identified as a lobbyist, which is what he is. Instead he’s pushed on the unsuspecting public as glorified scholar— either for the American Enterprise Institute or the Federalist Society or the Institute for Policy Innovation or the American Conservative Network. But when push comes to shove, the pharmaceutical industry pays him to push a disguised version of their predatory line.

Yesterday, just as Biden was celebrating the ability of Medicare to finally be able to negotiate prices on 10 specific drugs—Eliquis, Jardiance, Xarelto, Januvia, Farxiga, Entresto, Enbrel, Imbruvica and Stelara, as well as Fiasp and certain other insulins (about 20%, in total Part D gross covered prescription drug costs)— noting that “The medications treat heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and autoimmune diseases, among other conditions. Medicare enrollees paid a total of $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs last year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Those who didn’t receive additional financial assistance shelled out as much as $6,500 on average.” On TV yesterday, Biden said, “For far too long, Americans have paid more for prescription drugs than any major economy. And while the pharmaceutical industry makes record profits, millions of Americans are forced to choose between paying for medications they need to live or paying for food, rent, and other basic necessities. Those days are ending.” Slowwwwwly. Medicare will publish the agreed-upon maximum fair prices by September 1, 2024. The program is expected to save Medicare $98.5 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Needless to say, drug manufacturers, have filed multiple lawsuits in federal courts across the country, hoping to find a reactionary Trump judge somewhere to throw out the legislation as unconstitutional. And then you have industry mouthpieces like Matthews spreading their venom: >The slippery slope of price controls on prescription drugs. He warned fellow reactionaries that “this is only the first step in Democrats’ decades-long effort to control the price of virtually everything— goods, services and labor. Except, of course, the price of big government.”

His complaint is that there will be no real negotiation between the big drug companies and Medicare. “Bureaucrats will decide what they think is a fair price for each targeted drug, with the number of drugs growing in future years. The drug company can come back with a counteroffer. There is a little back and forth, but the government eventually tells the drug company how much it will be allowed to charge… [I]f a drug company doesn’t accept the government’s set price, the company will have to pay taxes equal to 65 percent of U.S. sales of that drug. That is not 65 percent of profits, mind you— that’s 65 percent of all revenue the company receives from the sale of that drug. But it doesn’t stop there. The fine increases 10 percentage points every quarter until the government is taking 95 percent of all revenue from the drug.”

The resolution will likely take some time and may well end up before the Supreme Court— where it is crucial that the justices slam the door shut on Biden’s and the Democrats’ price control efforts, because going after the drug companies is only the first step toward imposing price controls on products and services in the wider economy.
Their strategy has been to identify an industry that provides a widely used product and accuse the companies involved of price-gouging, then take every available opportunity to repeat the message. Enlist the media to provide a megaphone, which it will eagerly do. Then campaign on passing legislation that would stop the “greedy” companies from charging so much.
Drug companies are the current targets. But the same tactics have been used against oil and natural gas producers, health insurers, credit card companies and others. And they will be used again.
These efforts are not about achieving fair prices, and never have been. They are about having the government dictate prices to a wide range of companies and industries. They are about control, not competition, and using that control for their own benefit.
Once politicians and bureaucrats control prices, they can control the companies. The process goes like this: “What’s that, Mr. CEO, you don’t think I’m allowing you to charge enough for your product (or service)? You know, we have a committee meeting coming up. I sure hope one of my colleagues doesn’t propose lowering the set price even more. Incidentally, did I mention I am up for reelection and that I have a new political action committee?”

There’s a good reason why year after year after year for decades, Americans say the most dishonest and ethics-free people in the country are people like Merrill Matthews. Even most Republican voters (71%) support giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.

I wish I could say that the kind of mind-boggling legalized corruption that keeps the prices of drugs so outrageously high is all Republican, but… since 1990 these are the current members of the House who have taken the most in bribes from the drug industry:

  • Anna Eshoo (D-CA)- $2,205,381

  • Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $2,060,150

  • Frank Pallone (D-NJ)- $1,945,189

  • Brett Guthrie (R-KY)- $1,497,980

  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)- $1,312,302

  • Scott Peters (D-CA)- $1,292,793

  • Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $1,281,013

  • Richie Neal (D-MA)- $1,155,271

  • Jim Clyburn (D-SC)- $1,063,724

  • Diana DeGette (D-CO)- $1,021,044

  • Steve Scalise (R-LA)- $1,000,972

And in case you’re wondering which shysters took the most in bribes just in the last cycle, these are the 10 worst congressional criminals, each of whom belongs in prison…

  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)- $419,195

  • Scott Peters (D-CA)- $399,540

  • Brett Guthrie (R-KY)- $343,700

  • Larry Bucshon (R-IN)- $224,300

  • John Curtis (R-UT)- $213,400

  • Anna Eshoo (D-CA)- $198,375

  • Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)- $196,828

  • Tony Cardenas (D-CA)- $178,400

  • Vern Buchanan (R-FL)- $177,100

  • Richard Hudson (R-NC)- $176,702



Aug 31, 2023

Maybe mcturtle can beg biden to include something to treat the petit mal seizure he seems to have had at a recent presser. Apparently not his first time. Or maybe phrma will bribe him directly with a supply of their best epilepsy drug.


Aug 30, 2023

Not mentioned (I wonder why) is the biden "plan" to negotiate on ONLY 10 drugs (and name them a year after passage) was probably always meant to be a charade anyway. They named the 10 a year after y'all spooged yourselves at getting even 10; and the court cases and appeals will start immediately; and it should get to the supremes before the election.

This has the stench of a typical democrap charade of pretending to try to do something but have it designed to be struck down by courts somewhere.

note: maybe you should look at all the democraps on that list of bribe takers again? tell ya anything? oops! LOOK who I'm askin'!!

But as long as it…

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