The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Who Struck That Deal With Big Pharma Anyway?

While we’re on the topic of that $80 billion deal struck between Democratic leaders and the nation’s drug makers, it’s worth clarifying how it came to be. Many

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Dec 17, 2009

While we’re on the topic of that $80 billion deal struck between Democratic leaders and the nation’s drug makers, it’s worth clarifying how it came to be. Many in the press have reported that the deal originated in the White House, which is perfectly understandable because it was President Obama who announced the agreement in June.

Yet two days before that high-profile White House announcement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was trumpeting the fact that he had negotiated the deal. There were no secrets being kept here. Indeed, here’s part of Baucus’ June 20 statement:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced he secured an $80 billion commitment from the pharmaceutical industry to reduce Medicare prescription drug costs for seniors. The deal struck by Baucus and the nation’s pharmaceutical companies with the participation of the White House includes a provision to narrow the gap in coverage, often called the “doughnut hole,” with payments from the drug companies to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of brand name medicine in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program.

So it was Baucus to cut the deal and the White House to endorse it. OK, fine. What makes this notable is that Baucus more recently seems to have forgotten that he was the primary negotiator on behalf of the Democrats. For example, when the Finance Committee shot down an amendment to the health reform bill that would have fully closed the doughnut hole, Baucus voted against it because he said it would undermine the deal with Big Pharma — a deal he placed squarely on the shoulders of the administration.

“We have to find some other time, some other way [to close the doughnut hole],” Baucus said. “The White House did reach an agreement.”

It’s worth remembering that, as Senate leaders are now promising to close the doughnut hole 100 percent, it was those same leaders who limited their options in paying for it.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

Related

Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen

Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight

Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight

Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep

Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!

The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the

Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’

Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday

Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public

Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs

Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability

Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg

In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what

Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan

Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com