Soon we'll find out if the Senate is really going to buck President Obama on the deal he cut with Big Pharma. I wonder how serious this is:
North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, a member of Democratic leadership, isn't a party to that bargain. "Senator Dorgan intends to offer an amendment to the health reform bill and his expectation is that it will be one of the first amendments considered," his spokesman Justin Kitsch told HuffPost in an e-mail. "Prescription drug importation is an immediate way to put downward pressure on health care costs. It has bipartisan support, and has been endorsed by groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses and AARP."
U.S. patients pay far more than the rest of the world for prescription drugs. The Canadian government keeps prices down by using its purchasing power to negotiate for lower rates. Dorgan wants American consumers in on the deal.
A bill to allow re-importation -- S. 1232 - has 30 cosponsors, several Republicans among them, including Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, John Thune (S.D.) and David Vitter (La.).
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would result in $50 billion in direct savings over the next decade, with $10.6 billion of that being savings to the federal government.
[...] The amendment threatens to blow up the deal Baucus and the White House cut with the drug makers. According to the deal, re-importation would not be part of comprehensive health care reform. And if the measure does save $50 billion, that will come from Big Pharma revenue and take it above the $80 billion in cuts it agreed to over ten years. It puts Congress on a collision course with its trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).