Politics

More on Big Pharma's Bill

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Timothy Carney, whose work on Obama-administration corporatism has paced the field, writes a bit more about the drug companies' support for Obamacare, which Jacob Sullum flagged yesterday.

In the heated yearlong health fight, President Obama has often accused his opponents of willful misrepresentation, even as he and his allies have endlessly repeated the biggest whopper of all — that the bill would rein in the special interests. […]

Of all the single-industry lobbies in Washington, the largest is the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America. PhRMA spent $26.2 million on lobbying last year — that's nearly three times as much as the insurance lobby, America's Health Insurance Plans, which spent $8.9 million.

If you include individual companies' lobbying, pharmaceuticals blow away the competition, beating all other industries by 50 percent, according to data at the Center for Responsive Politics.

Given this Big Pharma clout, it's unsurprising that the bill Obama's whipping for — Senate bill — has nearly everything the drug companies wanted: prohibiting reimportation of drugs, preserving Medicare's overpayment for drugs, lengthy exclusivity for biotech drugs, a mandate that states subsidize drugs under Medicaid, hundreds of billions in subsidies for drugs, and more.

If those eyebrows could talk….

PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin, who was vilified by Obama on the campaign trail, worked out much of this sweetheart deal in a West Wing meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Tauzin visited the White House at least 11 times. […]

Recall that pharmaceutical executives and political action committees dug deep trying to save the flailing candidacy of Democrat Martha Coakley in Massachusetts — a race that was explicitly a referendum on health care. She took in more than 10 times as much drug company cash as Republican Scott Brown.

Whole thing here. Carney talks Obamanomics with Nick Gillespie below: