Obama Reverses Stand on Drug Industry Deal

This is nothing. At this point, Obama needs the votes from the Dems to get something/anything passed that will allow the government to get involved in the health care and insurance business more than he needs big pharma’s money, so for now Obama can afford to piss off big pharma. From the way this reads, if big pharma walks, the government “only” looses $80 billion or so, an amount they can easily stick the public with. Once government is in the health care business, they can go back and cut the necessary deals with big pharma.

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Caught between a pivotal industry ally and the protests of Congressional Democrats, the Obama administration on Friday backed away from what drug industry lobbyists had said this week was a firm White House promise to exclude from a proposed health care overhaul the possibility of allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices under Medicare.

The reversal underscored the delicate balancing act the White House has pursued in its strategy of negotiating behind-the-scenes deals to win industry support without alienating liberal supporters on Capitol Hill.

Pressed by drug industry lobbyists, a White House deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, confirmed in an e-mail message on Wednesday that the White House shared the drug lobbyists’ interpretation of the deal: that any health care overhaul would not include allowing direct government negotiation of drug prices or require certain additional price rebates. Since Wednesday, other representatives of the White House had also stood by Mr. Messina’s statement as well.
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