Saturday, August 22, 2009

President O'Bama Negotiates Secretly With the Pharmaceutical Lobby

My friend KGS59 of the Tundra Tabloids has posted an interesting article. It concerns recent news that President O'Bama has negotiated pharmaceutical prices in private with a leading representative of the industry (otherwise known as a lobbyist).

This is an excellent presentation. It clarifies something important.

I never had a problem with the President negotiating drug prices. I didn't mind the fact that the negotiation was held privately.

Most GOP/partisan blogs are just complaining that the President negotiated drug prices. This was something most people thought needed to be done. Moreover, it was seen as a major shortcoming in the GOP Medicare prescription plan.

There is also major GOP/partisan griping about who President O'Bama negotiated with, a leading lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. I wonder who they expected the President to negotiate with. Who did the GOP negotiate with when they formulated their plan? Are GOP partisans trying to tell us the Bush Administration and their congressional allies never negotiated public policy with lobbyists? Who's President O'Bama supposed to negotiate with?

So here's where I draw the line. I have ALWAYS said that the negotiation results need to be scrutinized. The real question that has to be asked is this: Did the American people get the best deal possible?

This presentation actually does something to answer that key question and it seems like we certainly did NOT get the best deal possible. The 2% savings bandied about in the presentation was against total sales. That's actually a more significant amount than the presentation says. The 2% savings against total sales might not seem like much, but it's a much larger percentage of gross profit margin.

Here's the rub! Most financial analysts specializing in the pharmaceutical business believe the industry could have comfortably doubled the price concessions made to President O'Bama. In other words, President O'Bama left a LOT of money on the table; money that the American public will have to pay. Moreover, the legitimate partisan question can be raised: was there a tangible political reward to President O'Bama and the Democrats for failing to push for more drug price concessions?

That's the issue I would like to see argued! I was glad that the Tundra Tabloid presentation cast some light on the issue of whether or not we got a good deal, but if we're really serious about this issue, there's more to shed light on. Merely quoting a dubious source like Air America only makes a partisan GOP point. (I fully realize why Air America was chosen as a source given their overt support for the O'Bama candidacy in campaign '08.) 

Oh! One more thing. There's another thesis offered in the Tundra Tabloids column. It states that the O'Bama Administration is conducting business as usual. Not only was that obvious long before he got elected, but it is also obvious along the entire front of issues facing the country. If you voted for President O'Bama and you believed he'd conduct the business of government differently than before, then you are someone who is easily fooled.

The American system of government has its flaws, but it's still a pretty good system. The people who manage it make the difference. President O'Bama couldn't really do business any different than before because it's very difficult to do so. The only question lies in his sincerity to represent the American public consensus fairly in matters of public policy.

The evidence of his first 7 months in office suggests that he's torn between two entities and neither of these are the general American public consensus. Either he's pressing the agenda of:

1. The extreme left of the Democratic party.

2. Corporate interests 

Hey! I saw the guy in action while he was in Illinois. Barack O'Bama was a fine advocate of nuclear power when he was a Senator. Most of Chicago, Illinois' electricity comes from nuclear power. That support didn't come without a lot of help from industry lobbyists with friends in the Cook County Democratic Party (CCDP) That's just a short example. 

In the grand attempt to make medical care part of the American public infrastructure (a mistake, in my view), negotiations between the government and corporations are absolutely necessary. However, like all other forms of infrastructure, these negotiations and their results must hold up to public scrutiny.  

We are seeing our first signs of failure in the O'Bama Administration's dealings in THIS story. It's really one of the first stories we can sink our teeth into since he became President. I think this story deserves more public scrutiny.


foregold said...

You're not the only one, TINSC. The Senate Democrats also believe it ought to be doubled, but some Senate Democrats are opposing the notion.

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