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How Quickly We Forget: Of Course Drug Companies Loved the Health Care Bill

Glenn Greenwald discovers a rather pernicious memory hole developing:

Yesterday, in The Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel claimed that the pharmaceutical industry opposed the health care bill (“Missouri’s Roy Blunt, among others, stood with the insurance and drug companies against health-care reform”). As Tim Carney documents, the opposite is true: that industry emphatically supported the bill and undertook multiple actions — including spending substantial amounts of money — to ensure its passage. That’s an important fact to preserve.

We’re not talking the War of 1812 here. This happened last year.

Here’s a refresher course for those who might feel inclined to believe such abject balderdash, courtesy of Tom Carper. The video above is from a Senate Finance Committee meeting, in September 2009:

CARPER: 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.

PhRMA got everything it wanted in the health care deal, and paid for it with $150 million in political advertising for Democrats. Harry Reid kept drug reimportation off the floor of the Senate until its failure was assured because it wasn’t part of the deal cut by the White House, and he was handsomely rewarded for his efforts.

I have no idea if people are saying things they know aren’t true when they make these kinds of outrageous misstatements, or if they just don’t know any better. In the end, I’m not sure it matters.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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