Obliging The Health Care Industry's Wildest Dreams

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Mar 29, 2010 7:57 AM
Before and after his bill was passed, Obama has talked continuously about his "victory" over the health lobby, Big Insurance, and pharmaceutical companies. It seems more than a little nonsensical. If one of the key pillars of his legislation is to make insurance mandatory, but still run by private companies, wouldn't those companies stand to gain the most from this proposal?

At last, the AP catches on:

Costly brand-name biotech drugs won 12 years of protection against cheaper generic competitors, a boon for products that comprise 15 percent of pharmaceutical sales. The industry will have to provide 50 percent discounts beginning next year to Medicare beneficiaries in the "doughnut hole" gap in pharmaceutical coverage, but those price cuts plus gradually rising federal subsidies will mean more elderly people will purchase more drugs.

Lobbyists beat back proposals to allow importation of low-cost medicines and to have Medicare negotiate drug prices with companies. They also defeated efforts to require more industry rebates for the 9 million beneficiaries of both Medicare and Medicaid, and to bar brand-name drugmakers' payments to generic companies to delay the marketing of competitor products.

Wow! Look at that! Big Insurance working with Democrats to make sure they were guaranteed business, but not taxed too much. It takes some cajones to tell the American people you've defeated the health care lobby, while actually having obliged most of their wildest dreams.