Monday, June 4, 2012

Emails Show Obama Fake-Fighting the Drug Industry

By Timothy Carney

If President Obama can't win a second term, at least he has a promising career as a professional wrestler.

Obamacare emails made public last week show that Obama is skilled at publicly pretending to fight a supposed bad guy -- the drug lobby, in this case -- while ensuring neither side actually gets hurt, both sides get paid, and everyone can be chums afterward.

Throughout his campaign and while pushing his health care law, Obama regularly spoke as if he were sticking it to the drug industry. But these were phantom punches. Sometimes, the emails show, the drug lobbyists didn't even blink an eye.

"If the drugmakers pay their fair share," Obama said in a weekly radio address in June 2009, "we can cut government spending on prescription drugs."

A CBS News report at the time took this as a threat to the industry, citing the fact sheet the White House published alongside the radio address suggested cutting federal payments for drugs purchased by Medicare patients who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid (so-called dual-eligibles, or "duals").

But top PhRMA lobbyist Bryant Hall, a former Democratic Senate staffer, had an advance copy of the script and emailed his colleagues the night before Obama's address aired. "Background is that the Pres's words are harmless," Hall wrote. "He knows personally about our deal and is pushing no agenda."

Hall assured his colleagues, "The reference to Duals does NOT mean that they want to do the duals policy .... Again -- this was a face save, not a real option."

Ken Johnson, PhRMA spokesman, replied, "Good to know the backroom politics."

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. Another excellent example of an industry buying what they want. In this video from the article at the 3:17 mark Obama states: “If the drug makers pay their fair share, we can cut spending on prescription drugs.” Does anyone believe this? And icing on the cake from the article clearly showing who actually runs what is called ‘Government.’
    “"we got a good deal," Hall wrote in one email. Hall is now a big Democratic donor, having given more than $20,000 to Democratic candidates this election, including $500 to Priorities USA, which is Obama's super-PAC. Sally Susman, Pfizer's vice president for policy who was on many of the dealmaking emails, is now a volunteer Obama fundraiser, having raised more than $500,000 for Obama's re-election campaign, which Messina is managing. Between Obama and Big Pharma, it seems, it's all in the family.”