Some of the issues Congress is grappling with are complicated enough that everything gets muddied in the wash. But not drug prices. That's pretty black and white and it's the biggest issue many Americans want Congress to solve. If the Democrats can't do it, there will be enough people not bothering to vote in the midterms that they'll probably lose both Houses and-- in many peoples' minds-- deservedly so.
There's an elucidating new poll out this morning from the Harvard School of Public Health for Politico on the public's priorities among the many programs covered by Biden's Build Back Better proposal. When it comes to "extremely important," you can see what the top priority is: lower drug prices.
And that breaks down as the top priority for Democrats (45%), Republicans (38%) and independents (37%). It's also much more important for all Americans-- regardless of party identification-- than hard infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc), which will certainly come as a surprise to conservative members of Congress (in both parties).
With every Republican opposed to allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with Big PhRMA, the program has bene put in danger by corrupt conservatives among the Democrats, particularly New Dems Kathleen Rice of Long Island and Scott Peters of San Diego, as well as the entire Blue Dog caucus with particularly corrupt members Kurt Schrader (OR), Henry Cuellar (south Texas) and Lou Correa (Orange County) the tip of the spear. This morning, writing for Politico, Sarah Owermohle reported that the drug pricing plan is in peril as some paid-off DINOs spar with Pelosi over the scope and details. "Democratic leaders are now considering scaling back a House leadership-backed proposal or dropping it entirely from the $3.5 trillion social spending package. That would likely be a death knell for the Democrats' chances of keeping the majority in the midterms. No members I asked wanted to go on record agreeing with this electoral assessment but, off record, one went even further. She told me that besides from needing to pass provisions lowering drug prices-- fast-- "If Democrats don’t deliver on expanding Medicare to cover eyes, ears and teeth; affordable college; and checks for children, then they will lose both Houses next year."
Jason Call is a congressional candidate in northwest Washington state, running against a former healthcare lobbyist, New Dem Rick Larsen. This morning, Call told me that "Of course as a progressive I support having prescription drug prices be as low as possible. In fact, I believe the pharmaceutical industry should be nationalized and the profit taken out of the manufacture of life savings medicines. (It would eliminate situations like Joe Manchin’s daughter making $millions$ by arbitrarily jacking up the price of an EpiPen!) It is ridiculous that Americans pay exorbitant prices for drugs that other countries are getting for pennies, while low income people are rationing medicine so they can afford rent. When elected, I will immediately push for Medicare for All to be reintroduced in the House. In sharp contrast, WA-02 incumbent Rick Larsen has multiple times publicly stated he would not support a single payer healthcare system. In fact in his very first Congress he voted against a Bernie Sanders amendment that would have lowered prescription drug prices. If you peruse the Rick’s Healthcare Profiteers section of my website, you’ll see in detail not only the for profit industry money Larsen takes, you’ll get to see him tell constituents angry about the cost of healthcare treatment 'So, I didn’t personally allow that to happen.' Nice guy, that Rick. Way to be compassionate and reassuring to your fellow human."
I know, yesterday was the last day of the FEC quarter, an arbitrary, hyped up give-me-your-money date. Much more important, as far as I'm concerned, is today-- the first day of the last quarter of 2021. Please click that Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer next to Jason's name above and contribute to his campaign-- Jason Call... so he can go to DC and fight for Justice.
UPDATE: The Progressive Democrat Who Can Beat Schrader
If the corporate sellouts like Schrader keep the democrats from passing the 'Build Back Better' reconciliation package, more or less entact, the Dems will, in all likelihood, lose majorities in one or both houses. Perversely, the American public won't look closely enough to know that it was the Republicans and corporate Democrats that kept it from happening. They will just blame 'the party in power' for the failure to actually solve problems for everyday people. Schrader prefers it when the republicans control the house, so he can blame any failure to solve the problems facing America on them. He's as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof when the Dems are in power, because then his crappy corporate votes can actually matter. This is why our district is currently being blanketed by TV ads paid for by Big Pharma 'thanking Kurt Schrader for keeping drug prices low' when what he has done is exactly the opposite.