Obamacare

ObamaCare's Cutthroat Corporatism

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Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many of the big players in the health care industry met with the White House in order to cut deals that would result in industry support. The logic, at the time, was that a health care overhaul was inevitable, and therefore it was more advantageous for industry groups to be seen as friendly towards the legislation than as oppositional. The White House, for its part, was at least somewhat anxious about the prospect of fighting a big-dollar industry campaign to kill the law (like the one that helped defeat HillaryCare), and so had an incentive to bring industry groups to the bargaining table.

Probably better to make a deal with pirates.

We're still waiting for information on many of the negotiations that took place between the White House and various outside corporate and union groups. But it's fairly well established that the drug industry, through PhRMA, cut a deal to support the overhaul. In exchange, the White House promised to limit industry concessions to about $80 billion, and agreed that Medicare would not use its bargaining power as a pharmaceutical megapurchaser to negotiate cheaper prices on prescription drugs. 

PhRMA saw the health care overhaul as a chance to advance its long-term interests and played along. But funny enough, it now seems that the White House is not all that interested in holding up its end of the bargain. President Obama's recent speech on the debt included proposals that would violate the agreement

Drug industry sources tell FOX Business the Administration is backtracking on what is called the "PhRMA deal" in health reform, a deal that was struck behind closed doors in late 2009 and early 2010 in order to get the industry to support and endorse health-care reform.

In the "PhRMA" deal, drug companies would fork over $80 billion in fees as well as give drug discounts to seniors in Medicare over 10 years, among other things. 

In exchange, the White House agreed, among other items, to not force the drug industry to accept rebates on drugs sold through Medicare Part D, a program launched under President George W. Bush to subsidize prescription drugs for seniors.

But President Barack Obama's new deficit push calls for those Medicare rebates, via the Simpson-Bowles plan. 

The deficit plan "has blown the deal to smithereens," says William S. Smith, managing director of Healthcare National Strategies, a D.C.-based government affairs consulting firm. "The Obama Administration has repudiated the PhRMA deal," says Smith, a former vice president for US public affairs and policy at Pfizer

The Obama debt plan may not become law. But the fact that the president is willing to propose these deal-breaking measures at all suggests that the White House feels no obligation to honor the agreement. And why should the White House stick to its word? The incentive to play along disappeared the day the law passed. At this point, you have to wonder why PhRMA and other groups agreed to these non-enforceable deals in the first place. Either way it tells you a lot about the mangled state of America's quasi-government-run health care system: Industry makes a backroom deal to buy into new federal regulations out of self-interest, then, after the regulations pass, finds out that the government has no plans to stick by the agreement. It's cutthroat corporatism at its finest. 

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  1. Probably better to make a deal with pirates.

    Now even more relevant:

    Good night, Peter. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

    1. Truly he has a dizzying intellect.

  2. “The Obama Administration has repudiated the PhRMA deal,” says Smith

    Inconceivable!

    1. You’ve beaten my lobbyist, which means you’re exceptionally strong, so you could’ve put the debt in your own economy, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the account in front of you. But, you’ve also bested my lawyer, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that economies are fragile, so you would have put the debt as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the account in front of me.

      1. You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land swap deal in DC” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a corporatist when rent-seeking is on the line”!

        1. These are so win.

        2. *giggle*

        3. You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land swap deal in DC” “never get involved in a civil war in North Africa” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a corporatist when rent-seeking is on the line”!

          1. That was a good fix, although land war still would have worked.

  3. Wow, I thought I was the only one who had ever seen Cutthroat Island.

    Brit#1: She’s rather…homely, sir.

    Brit#2: And you are not?

    1. Okay, so you and Suderman saw it. I’m still not sure if that’s enough to justify a “Deepthroat Island” porn parody. Let me get my producer on the phone and see what he thinks.

    2. You don’t make the best choices in life, do you, sage.

      1. No, no I don’t. I did make an excellent choice this weekend in getting some Polk tower speakers, however. My neighbors (and their neighbors) are going to hate me.

  4. “How could you let this happen”, rather said crying.

    Her face was filled with disgust and fear. Before he could reply, smoke
    began to roll off of her face. Her skin began to drip off where
    the cum was. Gregory Smith watched terrified and hopeless as his wife
    melted into a sludgy mess before him. Zombies began to scoop up the liquefied remnants and stuff them in their mouths.

    He tried to get up but couldn’t. The cum had suddenly hardened and he was trapped sitting Indian style in the center of the circle. The inner layer of zombies stepped back and for a second he thought they were leaving.

    He wasn’t happy with the thought. At this point all he could think about was dying.

    He didn’t want to live, not without rather. He put his head down and began to sob. The sound of zombies went away and he looked up. Standing in front of him were some familiar faces; Warty, SugarFree, Episiarch, John and MNG.

    “Guys. What are you doing here? Help me. My wife?.oh god?she just melted. She fucking melted.”

    None of the men spoke or acknowledged him. They just stared. Warty was the first to move. He unzipped his fly and pulled out his big, black, uncircumcised cock and began stroking it. The rest followed suit. All his friends began to form a circle jerk
    around him. Greg closed his eyes and when he opened them he saw a single man standing in front of him looking down.

    “Jesus Christ. No. Don’t fucking cum on me. Please don’t. I don’t wanna melt”, Greg screamed as he sat up.

    “Fuck man. Calm down. You’re ok. Shit.” The bald man said. From behind him came a couple more men looking
    worried. They were all dressed in black army style pants and vests. They had a logo over their right shirt pocket that said H&R. They carried guns.

    1. I always suspected Warty was black.

      1. But a black Jew? You didn’t see that coming.

        1. “his big, black, uncircumcised cock “

          1. Uncircumsized. Yeah, I misread that. So let me go to my alternate response: You’re both racists.

            1. Also, let’s face it, anti-Semites.

      2. Well, maybe not all black, but I’ve always be certain his penis was black. Smooth and glossy black. Like meaty obsidian.

        1. I’m like a coal miner, but with the colors reversed.

          1. Eventually you must fight to the death against a black guy with a white cock. I beg the two of you to make that your last battlefield.

            1. Enough, SF. I’m still pondering “meaty obsidian.” Meaty onyx, maybe, but obsidian. . . with all those chippy angles. Now I’m all unsettled and perplexed. Damn you and your weird-ass, incongruous juxtapositions.

              1. Here I was under the mistaken assumption that onyx is glassy like obsidian. So much for my “I think onyx would be pretty chippy-sharp too” comment.

          2. “I’m like a coal miner, but with the colors reversed.”

            I’m at work!

    2. ” ‘Fuck man. Calm down. You’re ok. Shit.’ The bald man said.”

      Balko’s in on this?! This goes deeper than I thought.

    3. Holy shit, someone needs to catalog these stories for me-I can barely keep track of the stalker I have in real life.

      1. EOM

  5. At this point, you have to wonder why PhRMA and other groups agreed to these non-enforceable deals in the first place.

    No kidding.

    It’s entirely possible they thought/hoped (quite reasonably) the wheels would fall off the thing before it passed, and they would be able to point to their “co-operation” as proof it wasn’t their fault.

  6. We’re still waiting for information on many of the negotiations that took place between the White House and various outside corporate and union groups.

    “Was she asking for it?
    Was she asking nice?
    If she was asking for it,
    Did she ask you twice?”

  7. And- since you cannot have too many movie references in a H&R comment thread:

    “Remember when I said I’d kill you last?”

    1. That’s right, Matrix! You did!

  8. So democrats lie to get their way, then immediately repudiate the agreement because they have no honor. What else is new?

    1. You think Republicans have “honor”? Or Insurance Companies?

      There are no good guys in this story, Reagan-boy

    2. You fucked up…you trusted us!

  9. So, the problem with electing an inexperienced progressive to the White House…

    Progressives in general are just so economically ignorant, and so easily swayed into supporting complex government interventions, that they end up being far more easily manipulated by corporations than people who actually believe in free markets and know something about economics.

    Does anyone here seriously think that Ron Paul would have been such a completely corporate tool as Obama has been? Or any libertarian leaning president?

    The progressives like to think that libertarians are tools of the wealthy. But when in power they end up handing out way more corporate welfare than libertarians would ever contemplate. And their own pet projects end up being the mechanisms for doing so.

    1. “The progressives like to think…”

      No they don’t.

      That’s their problem.

      1. Why do so many people here think that they are “progressive?”

        What about them do you think advances progress?

    2. I’m not sure that is fair Hazel. Most progressives wanted a single payer system, it was where Obama veered from progressivism to pragmatism that he opened himself up for being played this way.

      1. And who gets paid in a single payer system…

        The only group potentially out there are the insurance companies. And even they would likely get a slice as contractors running the system. Who do you think actually runs Medicare and Tricare today? That’s right, CMS contracts with Cigna, Aetna and a bunch of the other big insurance companies and they are gigantic contracts.

        1. but but but, THE RIGHT PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE!!!111oneoneonSOMALIAoneoneone@!

      2. So, basically, he lied to everyone.

        1. Gotta admire his consistency, at least.

          1. He’s a pretty dependable guy if you just assume that everything he says is the exact opposite of truth.

            1. He’s got my anti-vote for 2012.

      3. True, but it appears to me that many progressives are okay with the approach of “regulating” large corporations to acheive some social purpose. They aren’t strict socialists who want the state to own the means of production.

        They just are oblivious to economics and think they can invent clever regulatory schemes that will acheive the same purpose. And then end up getting manipulated (because of their own willful economic ignorance) so that the clever regulatory scheme becomes a corporate-welfare-slash-industry-cartelization scheme.

        This isn’t just the health care issue I’m talking about. Everything going on with the banks to try to “save” the economy is the same thing – it’s an industry cartel giving themselves corporate welfare DISGUISED as a clever monetary scheme to stimulate the economy. Obama’s either too economically illiterate to realize what is going on or ignorant to be able to criticize it.

  10. A fox and a fox needed to cross a river…

    1. So, two scorpions walk into a bar, discussing the river at the edge of town….

  11. Otter (Obama Administration): “You fucked up… you trusted us!”

    Seriously, why would anyone seriously think secret deal with Obama is worth the paper it’s signed on?

    1. Seriously, why would anyone seriously think secret deal with Obama any politician is worth the paper it’s signed on?

      1. Wait….what?

  12. Otter (Obama Administration): “You fucked up… you trusted us!”

    Seriously, why would anyone seriously think secret deal with Obama is worth the paper it’s signed on?

  13. To keep with the movie theme:

    “I’m altering the deal; pray I do not alter it further.”

    -K

    1. That was the first reference I thought of as I read the piece.

      1. I was surprised it took this long, but I guess the picture and alt-text derailed it a bit.

        1. Comparing Obama to Darth Vader is racist.

    2. That’s the one!

    3. Phrma: You said you would help me.
      BO: Guess there is still a little of you left inside me. Because I lied. Enjoy hell.

  14. At this point, you have to wonder why PhRMA and other groups agreed to these non-enforceable deals in the first place.

    There was a certain panic in the industry early on that it was inevitable, so I guess they felt like they had to get what they could, even if it was likely to turn out to be nothing in short order.

    Still, fuck, man up. If just one major industry segment (pharma, hospitals, insurance, especially docs) had broken ranks, it would have died.

    1. It still could, if some of them could find some backbone. They ought to know that all they’ll get from this damned president is conned.

  15. I’m totally OK with Big Pharma not getting the rent they were seeking…but it’s far from clear that there won’t be consequences if BO breaks the deal. Obama isn’t really in a position where he can afford to make new enemies who have more cash laying around than they know what to do with.

    1. Indeed. Not a good move

      1. I don’t agree. I’m trilled if he screwed insurance-next big oil

  16. PhRMA saw the health care overhaul as a chance to advance its long-term interests and played along. But funny enough, it now seems that the White House is not all that interested in holding up its end of the bargain. President Obama’s recent speech on the debt included proposals that would violate the agreement.

    Who knew Obama was really Sicilian?

    1. Whatever you said was stupid.

      1. It was actually stupider than you would imagine. That’s impressive.

        1. I’m tempted to unignore her for a second to read the horror. Must…resist…

        2. I have a drink for you bitches-I’ll even let you choose which glass

        3. It’s not stupider than he would imagine, it’s stupider than he could imagine.

          1. comments from lunkhead, meathead, and nitwit-how lucky can a girl get?

  17. That’s a risk in any back-room political deal. Even if Obama did hold up the deal, they had no guarantee some future Congress or President would hold to it.

    Pharma knows this is a repeat game and they’ll have their chance to f over Obama. They also know that there will be plenty of legislative chances to change other things. I would be shocked if they hadn’t planned out counters in case Obama or a future Congress/President pulled something like this.

    1. Given their business they’re used to there being horrible side effects from swallowing horrible things.

      They’d have been fools not to see it coming.

      1. Well their lobbyists are in the business of legislation and regulation. The lobbyists aren’t fools- they plan and think their strategies through beforehand.

  18. Are corporations that stupid? You don’t negotiate with Obama! You don’t cut deals with him! Big Tobacco cut a deal with the FDA and now look at them, they cant’ even call Camel Lights by that name, so instead they have to call them “Camel Blue”.” We also have the FDA banning electronic cigarettes, they might even demand huge warning labels, prohibit new flavors, etc, etc, etc.

    Stalin said it best, “capitalists will loan us the money we’ll use to buy the rope to hang them with.” So what’s the lesson to be learned? You don’t give a Marxist money!

    Oh, and I encourage everyone to see the film Atlas Shrugged, because that movie is a warning of things to come if Obama doesn’t lose the election of 2012.
    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com/

  19. No, no, no, you have the argument all wrong! Big insurance would never collude with government or help write legislation! It’s all about death panels! Don’t you know Barack Hussein Obama is a socialistic Muslin who wants to cut Medicare and replace our free-market health care system with government-run health care?!

  20. Oh come on, the industry backed out first, they’re the ones who supported all the attacks on the town hall meetings, to the point where drug reps with drug company t-shirts were seen leading the rallies. Obama would be a fool if he DID honor whatever agreements he made with the drug and/or insurance companies. Obama is a fool, so that’s what I fully expect to happen.

    1. drug reps with drug company t-shirts were seen leading the rallies.

      Now, I remember seeing union guys with union t-shirts beating people up outside the rallies, but I don’t recall the drug reps.

      Got a link?

  21. Hi!

    I know, I know. You thought you’d seen the last of me.

    But…well, ya’ know, I was thinkin’…you paid last time ’round. So I figured you’d bend over again.

  22. I am altering the deal.

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