So Senate Democrats on the Finance Committee offered an amendment that would enable the federal government to bargain for lower drug prices for their bulk purchasing, a direct assault on the White House/Big Pharma deal from a few months back. Basically it would shift poor seniors back onto Medicaid for their drug purchasing, where the government can negotiate discounts. This would save the government over $80 billion dollars.
And Tom Carper of Delaware defended the secret deal in the most amazing of ways:
I was not involved in negotiations with PhRMA but I believe that the administration was, obviously PhRMA was, and I presume this committee was involved in some way in those negotiations.
And what PhRMA agreed to do through those negotiations is to pay about
80 billion dollars over 10 years to help fill up half the donut hole. That's my understanding. And they are prepared to go forward and to honor that commitment. As I understand it, the commitment from our colleague Senator Nelson would basically double what was negotiated with PhRMA.
And whether you like PhRMA or not -- remember I talked earlier today in our opening statements, I talked about four core values, and one of those is the golden rule, treat other people the way I want to be treated?
I'll tell you -- if someone negotiated a deal with me and I agreed to put up say, 80 dollars or 80 million dollars or 80 billion dollars and then you came back and said to me a couple of weeks later -- no no, I know you agreed to do 80 billion and I know you were willing to help support through an advertising campaign this particular -- not even this particular bill, just the idea of generic health care reform? No, we're going to double -- we're going to double what you agreed in those negotiations to do. That's not the way -- that's not what I consider treating people the way I'd want to be treated.
That just doesn't seem right to me.
This is incredible. The deal is transparently one to protect drug industry profits. There's just no doubt about this. Carper is saying that it's more important to get a few generic ads in support of health care reform than to save the US taxpayers $80 billion dollars. Backroom deals must be honored even if they hurt people. That's the "golden rule" in Washington.
Did Carper not know that cameras were rolling when he said this?