Sold Out

I hope all of you have been following  the developments on Firedog Lake, especially on the FDL Action Page and FDL News Desk (dday).

I’ve been trying to find a way to summarize the posts, a quote or two that conveys the enormity of the sellout we’re experiencing, but I’m at a loss and perhaps you can help.

Drug Reimportation

Harry Reid, Crook for PhRMA, Tries To Kill Drug Reimportation

By: Jane Hamsher Thursday December 10, 2009 7:21 pm

Reid, White House Trying To Bury Reimportation Amendment

By: David Dayen Friday December 11, 2009 6:00 am

Basically, the deal between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry didn’t allow for any circumstance that would save consumers $106 billion over ten years by being able to purchase cheaper drugs. Some liberals have objected on the grounds that Republicans are making bad-faith arguments about the value of a single negotiator, but as a means to block drug customers from tens of billions in savings annually, it’s a weak argument. And it’s especially weak when the only reason it’s being held up, despite massive support, is that the White House doesn’t want to take a big bite out of Big PhRMa.

My emphasis.

Loophole Adds Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage For High-Cost Illnesses In Senate Bill

By: David Dayen Friday December 11, 2009 8:18 am

Why would this cap on treatments of cancer and other illnesses be instituted? The answer could lie in biologics. Under the current health care bills, drugmakers would be allowed to keep their exclusivity on expensive biologic drugs for at least twelve years and perhaps permanently, thanks to the evergreening clause. These are drugs that cost as much as $80,000 a year annually, and without the prospect of low-cost generic versions, that number will only increase. These drugs offer the hope of treatment for crippling diseases, but the cost is prohibitive to individuals. By preserving the drugmaker’s ability to charge that price, the insurance companies may not want to be stuck with the bill. So a cap on annual spending for the kinds of diseases these drugs treat would pass the costs on to the patient.

Obama and Reid’s War Against Bringing Down Americans’ Health Care Costs

By: Jon Walker Friday December 11, 2009 8:51 am

What is sickening is that Obama campaigned on this rather small, common sense cost controlling idea. Yet Obama traded away drug re-importation to PhRMA in a sweetheart deal. He also traded away direct drug price negotiation in the same deal. Obama and Reid have clearly taken the side of protecting corporate profits instead of bringing down health care costs for regular Americans. I shutter to think of all the other good cost control ideas Obama and Reid were able to more quietly kill as part of some secret industry deal that we still don’t know about. Next time they send Peter Orzsag to pimp all the awesome “bending the cost curve” ideas in the bill, the appropriate response from reporters is to laugh in his face. For the past few days, Obama and Reid have rather publicly fought against bringing down America’s health care costs.

Dorgan Does Right Thing, Holds Up Senate Health Care Debate Until He Gets Reimportation Vote

By: David Dayen Friday December 11, 2009 1:16 pm

The big story here is not that the White House wants to crush Byron Dorgan’s reimportation amendment and hold up their deal with Big PhRMa – that’s been clear for a while. The big news is that Dorgan’s fighting back:

It’s NOT Medicare

I Can Believe It’s Not Medicare: Get Ready For Fake Medicare Buy-In

By: Jon Walker Friday December 11, 2009 7:01 am

This change would result in this fake Medicare program having much higher premiums and a smaller provider network. It would also result in greater administrative overhead. This fake Medicare would lack almost all the benefits of Medicare. A Medicare buy-in program that does not actually allow people to fully buy into real Medicare is a farce. Beware: it looks like we are about to get fake Medicare for Christmas.

Benefit Caps

Harry Reid Slips Lifetime Limit Into Senate Bill

By: Jane Hamsher Friday December 11, 2009 8:34 am

Reid, who is solely responsible for crafting the bill that he introduced in the Senate, decided that there should be a limit on lifetime benefits. So when people get sick and have huge bills for things like biologic drugs that cost $50,000 or $100,000 a year, whose bills could become “unreasonable” because Congress is granting drug manufacturers “indefinite monopolies” (per Henry Waxman) that prevent generics from coming to market to compete with them, Harry Reid thinks they should eventually be cut off:

So Much For Health Care Consumer Protection: Reid Guts Ban On Annual Limits

By: Jon Walker Friday December 11, 2009 9:30 am

For all those apologists who say we should absolutely pass a health care bill, even without a public option, because it still “has so many great consumer protections,” I have a rude awakening for you. The AP is reporting that Harry Reid quietly gutted one of the most important consumer protections in the bill, the ban on annual limits:

HHS Knew About Reid’s "Annual Limit"

By: Jane Hamsher Friday December 11, 2009 12:23 pm

Funny that nobody thought to tell the public.  How many more of these things do we not know about?

You’re Right, Harry Reid, Fake Insurance Is Much "Cheaper" Than Real Insurance

By: Jon Walker Friday December 11, 2009 1:13 pm

The reason Reid dropped the annual limit from the Senate bill was to make his bill appear cheaper in the CBO score, and make insurance premiums appear lower.

No ‘Cost Savings’ in “Compromise”

CMS: Excise Tax On Insurance Will Make Your Insurance Coverage Worse And Cause Almost No Reduction In NHE

By: Jon Walker Friday December 11, 2009 12:31 pm

The new excise tax on employer-provided health insurance will result in most people getting worse health insurance from their employer, insurance that covers less. That is just not my conclusion, it is the conclusion of the CMS.

Highlights Of CMS Analysis Of Senate’s Bill

By: Jon Walker Friday December 11, 2009 3:47 pm

So my summary is this-

Harry Reid, with Barack Obama’s at least tacit complicity, has decided to turn “Health Care Reform” into “Insurance Industry/PhARMA Welfare”.

You will be mandated by the Government to pay at least 20% of your annual income for Health Care because of expensive, crappy insurance that doesn’t cover anything and artificially inflated medical costs.

And it won’t save the taxpayers a dime.

Not to mention taking away a Woman’s Right to Choose.

This is worse than nothing.  Thanks Democrats.

No Public Option, No Mandate.


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  1. …on this, ek.  It has become so obvious, for a while now, that this was the way it would go, that I lost interest in paying much attention.  I’d rather be spoon fed the ugly truth by people like you who are doing the journeyman’s work.

    I’ll check out FDL because I want to find out what they recommend doing.  Do we go on a campaign to advocate a “No” vote?  

    Sounds like we need to kill the bill before the bill kills us.  

    • TMC on December 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

    stop insurance companies from putting patients with  pre-existing conditions in high risk pools that forces them to pay more for their coverage. Let me explain the ramifications of that for those or you who think that you don’t have a pre-existing condition. Let me ask you a few questions. Do you smoke or have you ever smoked? How much? For how long? If you have quit, when did you quit? Have you ever been told or were your parents ever told that you were wheezing? Not that you were told you have asthma but just wheezing and treated for it, well? I could go on but this is how the insurance industry is going to up the ante and increase that high risk pool to their advantage. Getting the picture.

    The bill also does it stop the insurance company from denying you treatment of the drugs you need to treat a condition but the bill forces you to pay the premium. And to ad insult to injury, the bill forces people to buy insurance who can least afford it. They are being mandated to buy insurance that may not cover them when and if they get ill and it could have exorbitant co-pays and premiums.

    Without a robust public option that is open to everyone and covers all illnesses without lifetime limits and provides adequate prescription drug coverage, this bill should be crapped, and if passed, vetoed.

  2. I’ve been trying to find a way to summarize the posts, a quote or two that conveys the enormity of the sellout we’re experiencing, but I’m at a loss and perhaps you can help.

    It’s like a legislative Easter egg hunt, except the eggs are all rotten.

    How many more stinkbombs do we need before we all finally decide that both this Congress and this President simply cannot be trusted with Health Care reform?

    Let’s face it, as an institution, the current government, like the one before it, and the one before that, is simply not capable of fixing the problem,

    and that’s an even bigger problem.

    • Diane G on December 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    The first thing that comes to mind is that since the opening act of this play, was that it immediately presented as false.

    I KNEW damn well that Single-payer was never the end game. Had it been, the roll-out promotion would have been advertised and sold ENTIRELY differently.

    Since then, I have been opposed to all of the subsequent bill versions, due exactly to the fact they were once again welfare for the rich, with mandatory tithing from the poorest.

    The Medical Industrial Complex vies a close second to the Military Industrial Complex in Campaign Finance.

    He who holds the pocketbook holds the reins. Or put in my common venacular: Money Talks, Bullshit Walks.

    Then the “tea baggers” pushed so hard against these Bills; setting the stage for Dems to “defend” it in a perfectly played out bait pile to lead we willing victims to our own bloodletting for profit.

    This is bad, bad kabuki, and I am buying none of it.

    This latest series of exposes about Pharma does not surprise me at all. They have long been the most corrupt branch of the MIC.

    It makes me scream in rage.

    Thanks Ek, excellent work.

  3. Ive been saying that for a while now, and I had to stop looking. Had to. Its teh suck.

    “The penalty for being poor is… it’ll cost YOU double.”

  4. sign today.  

  5. Different titles, same adgendas “all out for me, none for the little guy”.

    The unmitigated gall of doing this while THEY have unlimited health care, paid for at taxpayer’s expense –

    Never ceases to just floor me.

    • dkmich on December 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Being crooks is less surprising than how blatant they have become.  At least in the olden days, they use to wait for the cover of darkness.  Now, its in broad daylight and against the protests of millions.  

  6. is Lieberman–bc he wants to hold out for one that’s even worse.  

  7. I think it was the Joint Session Speech? I never in my life

    heard a Democrat say anything like that. He manged to kiss Grassley’s ass and complimented him on his good work.

    All the Left of the Left ever wanted was an extension of Medicare. Seems to me a natural thing 45 years after it began for those who reach 65.

    I had followed all the maneuverings very closely up to a few weeks ago, and I have given up. To think that my own ex party president would use labels to manipulate the electorate is traitorous. We had finally gotten into a political climate where liberal was okay to use as a label again. A few months ago we were able to use that term with pride. Obama has helped destroy the resurgence of a movement based on liberalism.

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