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Why Isn’t Billy Tauzin at a Town Hall Meeting?

Digby and mcjoan both have good posts on the question of whether or not Obama made a deal with PhRMA for $80 billion in concessions for an agreement that negotiating on drug prices won’t be a part of health care reform. A short recap:

August 5: Deputy Chief of Staff and former Max Baucus Chief of Staff Jim Messina says there is a deal

August 6: Messina and David Axelrod tell Sherrod Brown there is no deal

August 6: White House spokesperson Dan Pfeiffer says there is too a deal

Pfeiffer, incidentally, suggests Brown may have misunderstood what he was told–which (according to Pfeiffer) is that Dems can negotiate price caps outside of health care reform.

Me, I suspect the real misunderstanding is that Pelosi and Brown and everyone else trying to do this right misunderstand that the White House has already decided that the Senate Finance Committee bill will be the bill, and the hard work they’ve been doing to come up with better bills has just been smoke and mirrors to make the progressives think they had some role in this process.

But aside from the question, Deal or No Deal, I’ve got another question.

Why the fuck isn’t Billy Tauzin, the head of PhRMA, sending out representatives to every town hall across the country to pitch the value of health care reform? Why hasn’t Bristol-Myers Squibb gotten Dick Armey to call off the violent hordes at the town halls?

If Billy Tauzin has really exacted the deal it appears he has, it means the pharmaceutical industry has turned health care reform into a giant government subsidy for their industry. Well, then, why aren’t they leading the way in supporting this crappy bill?



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.