More of the same? Wheres that change?

From Huffington Post:
Internal Memo Confirms Gov. Big Deal with Big Pharma
On August 13th, 2009 SteveMT says:
Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma
Ryan Grim
08-13-09 11:15 AM
Short version

A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week.

The memo, which according to a knowledgeable health care lobbyist was prepared by a person directly involved in the negotiations, lists exactly what the White House gave up, and what it got in return.

It says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada — and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

Johnson added that “no outside lobbyists — not a single one — were ever involved in our discussions with the Senate Finance Committee or the White House so someone is blowing smoke.”

But the lobbyist who was given the outline defended its authenticity. And although the White House now says that drug price negotiations and reimportation were not actually discussed in the talks with PhRMA, the lobbyist said: “Well, that’s bull — that’s baloney. That was part of the deal, for them not to push that.”

Obama is walking a tightrope here. He wants to keep PhRMA from opposing the bill, and benefits by having its support, which now includes a $150 million advertising campaign. That’s a fortune in politics — more than Republican presidential candidate John McCain spent on advertising during his entire campaign — but it’s loose change in the pharmaceutical business.

Opponents of the deal with PhRMA hope that Obama is playing a multilayered game, making a deal in order to keep the drug makers in his camp for now, but planning to double-cross them in the end if he needs to in order to pass his signature initiative.

Big Pharma, however, is still comfortable. “As far as the pharmaceutical industry, PhRMA and its member companies, yes, they say a deal is a deal. We’ll see what happens,” said the health care lobbyist.

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