Since the Senate is the group turning the health care debate into "either-or" - as in, "either" regular citizens get screwed "or" the health-for-profit industry gets screwed, I thought I'd point this out as a perfect example of how they think:
The Finance Committee seemed to come very close to passing an amendment Tuesday that would have violated the White House deal with the pharmaceutical industry.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) proposed ending what some Democrats have called a windfall for the pharmaceutical industry – and he picked up strong support from his party.
But two sources familiar with the process say it is still likely to fall short when the committee votes Wednesday.
As part of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug program, more than 6 million low-income seniors were shifted from Medicaid, which allowed the government to negotiate a deep discount for drugs, to the Medicare program, which did not. This has resulted in the government paying about 30 percent more for drugs, according to an analysis by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Fla.).
Nelson’s amendment would shift these beneficiaries back to the Medicaid program, resulting in $86 billion in savings that could be used to close the donut hole for senior citizens.
Senators were drawn into a tense discussion over the merits of the White House’s $80 billion deal with the pharmaceutical industry, and the failings, as some Democrats see it, of the Medicare prescription drug program.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said the Finance Committee should honor the deal with the drug industry. To suddenly double their obligation from $80 billion to more than $160 billion would not be “fair,” he said.
Now, think about that. Senior citizens are not getting needed medication because it's too expensive, but it's more important to continue giving pharmaceutical companies this windfall because they're counting on it and it wouldn't be "fair" to take it away from them.
Just so we're clear.