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Carper Publicly Defends Secret PhRMA Deal In Exchange For Support Ads

In a stunning moment during the Senate Finance Committee markup Sen. Tom Carper defended a secret deal that the White House, Baucus, and PhRMA had reached. The White House has long denied the deal. Carper publicly acknowledges that part of the deal was that PhRMA would run millions of dollars worth of campaign ads in support of health care reform.

According to Carper the “golden rule” in Congress is that secret back room deals in exchange for advertising buys must be honored. Carper’s statement below,

I was not involved in negotiations with PhRMA but I believe that the administration was, obviously PhRMA was, and I presume this committee was involved in some way in those negotiations.

And what PhRMA agreed to do through those negotiations is to pay about
80 billion dollars over 10 years to help fill up half the donut hole. That’s my understanding. And they are prepared to go forward and to honor that commitment. As I understand it, the commitment from our colleague Senator Nelson would basically double what was negotiated with PhRMA.

And whether you like PhRMA or not — remember I talked earlier today in our opening statements, I talked about four core values, and one of those is the golden rule, treat other people the way I want to be treated?

I’ll tell you — if someone negotiated a deal with me and I agreed to put up say, 80 dollars or 80 million dollars or 80 billion dollars and then you came back and said to me a couple of weeks later — no no, I know you agreed to do 80 billion and I know you were willing to help support through an advertising campaign this particular — not even this particular bill, just the idea of generic health care reform? No, we’re going to double — we’re going to double what you agreed in those negotiations to do. That’s not the way — that’s not what I consider treating people the way I’d want to be treated.

That just doesn’t seem right to me.

Carper was speaking in opposition to an amendment from Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The amendment mirrors what Henry Waxman did in the House to close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole by requiring drug manufactures to provide rebates for the overcharging of dual eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients. In July,  Debbie Halvorson and Heatlh Shuler authored a  letter to Waxman signed by 70 Democrats,  asking him a rewrite the bill to ” substitute the President’s proposal” for his own, which reflected the PhRMA deal.

PhRMA’s board approved the $80 billion in price reductions on June 19.  On June 30, the Hill reported that PhRMA began running ads in the districts of vulnerable Democratic House freshmen.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at