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A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week.
Representatives from both the White House and PhRMA, shown the outline, adamantly denied that it reflected reality. PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson said that the outline "is simply not accurate." "This memo isn't accurate and does not reflect the agreement with the drug companies," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.
Stories in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times last week indicated that the administration was confirming that such a deal had been made.
Critics on Capitol Hill and online responded with outrage at the reports that Obama had gone behind their backs and sold the reform movement short. Furthermore, the deal seemed to be a betrayal of several promises made by then-Sen. Obama during the presidential campaign, among them that he would use the power of government to drive down the costs of drugs to Medicare and that negotiations would be conducted in the open.
PhRMA's Johnson cast doubts on the provenance of the outline. "The memo, as described, is simply not accurate," he said in a statement. "Anyone could have written it. Unless it comes from our board of directors, it's not worth the paper it's written on. Clearly, someone is trying to short circuit our efforts to try and make health care reform a reality this year. That's not going to happen. Too much is at stake for both patients and the U.S. economy. Our new ads supporting health care reform are starting this week, and we are redoubling our efforts to drive awareness of why this issue is so important to America's future."
Johnson added that "no outside lobbyists -- not a single one -- were ever involved in our discussions with the Senate Finance Committee or the White House so someone is blowing smoke."
But the lobbyist who was given the outline defended its authenticity. And although the White House now says that drug price negotiations and reimportation were not actually discussed in the talks with PhRMA, the lobbyist said: "Well, that's bull -- that's baloney. That was part of the deal, for them not to push that."
The new uncertainty surrounding the deal comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly said that her chamber is not bound by any agreement it is not a party to. On July 8th, the day after the Journal reported some elements of the deal, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said in a public speech that his committee would not be tied down by the agreement.
Originally posted by Walkswithfish
The only surprise in this is that the Huffington post is running with this story.
What bothers me most about this is the fact that either way the Insurance industry wins. If they can create the perception that "Big Pharma" is in on a deal they make it less likely the Health Care bill will pass ... (not that I want it to) and they get to keep the status quo..., in which we all know they continue to benefit from the way things are now. Also, if it fails, "Big Pharma" wins, because we still have to swallow the bitter pill of their outrageous pricing structure (pun intended).
Originally posted by JayinAR
You can never trust insurance agents, real estate agents or lawyers... or so they say.
And I agree.