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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The alliance between Obama and big medicine

Over the weekend, the Obama administration excitedly leaked word about a meeting to be held on Monday, bringing the "medical-industrial complex" together behind the first leg of Obama's health care reform--cost containment.

Liberal bloggers figured that if big business likes it, it must be the status quo. Paul Krugman figured that the big businesses were just rolling over in the face of an unstoppable force. My Examiner column explains the more straightforward explanation for Big Pharma's and Big HMO's support for Obama's plan: profit.

The insurers’ interest here is obvious: Half their business is reducing health care costs. Plus, Kennedy’s plan would mandate everyone maintain health insurance.


At PhRMA’s annual conference, [PhRMA chairman David] Brennan uttered the magic words of a corporate executive looking for a handout and beneficial regulation: “I’m an advocate of free-market-based health care solutions. But within that framework, I support appropriate government efforts to protect people whose health care needs aren’t met by the private marketplace.”

Specifically, PhRMA wants a government mandate that insurers cover prescriptions. Also, the biggest drug makers currently subsidize the prescriptions of poorer customers, and health care reform provides an opportunity to shift the subsidy costs onto the government and the insurers.

Read the whole column here.

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