Drug bill improvements and House Republicans’ possible blue-washing (i.e. health-washing)

As you know… when Republicans controlled everything [2017 – ed.] they successfully voted to increase the death and suffering of their constituents. The bill passed the House – http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll256.xml and they celebrated the bill’s passage at the White House. https://nbcnews.to/2PoaE4r

The filibuster-proof bill was narrowly blocked.

Last week Republicans dropped a drug bill… presumably their attempt to health-wash their records… so from an election point of view… it’s important to understand both their bill and what they say about it.

Prescription Drug Legislation In Congress: An Update
In this post, I summarize each of these four developments, explaining what each package would and would not do for different aspects of the drug pricing issue. Then, I situate these Congressional developments within the context of the White House and executive branch’s efforts to advance regulatory reforms in this area.
Essentially, H.R. 3 (the House Democrats bill) contains three main elements. First, it recognizes that out-of-pocket costs for many patients are too high, and to that end it fundamentally restructures the Medicare Part D benefit to provide financial relief for a large number of Part D beneficiaries. …
Second, H.R. 3 recognizes that our existing drug pricing systems create incentives for drug companies to raise their list prices over time, often much more rapidly than inflation. As such, it aims to control and potentially reverse price increases for drugs in both Medicare Part B (Section 201) and Part D (Section 202). …
Third, H.R. 3 aims to tackle the underlying problem of high drug prices by providing the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) with authority to negotiate some prescription drug prices both for Medicare and for the private market (Section 101). …
Of the three primary elements contained within H.R. 3, H.R. 19 (the House Republicans bill) contains just one: a restructuring of the Medicare Part D benefit. … As such, it does not constrain pharmaceutical companies from increasing the prices of their drugs over time, nor does it constrain high launch prices in the first instance.
H.R. 19 contains a range of other positive changes to our drug pricing system. …

House Progressives successfully improved the Dems drug bill last week. I don’t know whether that’s reflected in the above post…

As House Democrats finish their first year in the majority since 2010, the Progressive Caucus is ending 2019 with its most significant legislative victory this Congress: The passage of a prescription drug bill.
…the Progressive Caucus delicately made it clear to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that they would block the bill from getting to the floor by voting down the rule – unless Pelosi made changes.
The speaker had no choice but to play ball.

Last week Fortenberry sent a link to his House floor speech on this subject.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yidyY4jiHM

Fortenberry has a habit of leaving out relevant details. My notes…

Fortenberry wanted House Dems to think small (relative to polling). He blamed partisanship for the House not adopting their bill … not the GOP’s unwillingness to do what We the People want them to do.
Dean Baker’s idea for restricting profiteering and incentivizing drug research is for the government to fund drug research up front, publish all findings and manufacturers would sell those drugs as generics. I suspect Fortenberry, his colleagues and “centrists” wouldn’t be interested in that proposal. I’d love to be proven wrong on that point. I’d also love to see candidates talking about Baker’s proposal. https://bit.ly/2PNhaAL
GW Bush & most 2003 Congressional Republicans eliminated Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices. Fortenberry’s chart showed the impact of that policy change on insulin prices but he didn’t mention who was responsible for that “bad policy.”
Note: Hagel opposed the bill because of how it was passed. See https://bit.ly/34qCMYW
Insulin prices are high because the guy who bought the patent wanted more money. Without mentioning patents… Fortenberry dropped a bill that essentially negates the insulin patent. It would allow manufacturers to sell directly to the public. But his bill only applies to insulin and it further politicizes drug pricing policy. https://bit.ly/2Eheaay
Perhaps he didn’t mention patents because he went on to claim that his one line bill wouldn’t infringe “upon the dynamics of a good market system.” Does Fortenberry not understand how patents impact markets?
High health care costs, regardless of the payer, are the result
of how we structure the market https://deanbaker.net/books/rigged.htm
More importantly… Reportedly pharmaceutical manufacturers colluded to raise drug prices – https://bit.ly/2Z0Igc9  – . If true… that behavior would impact his legislation’s effectiveness.
He then brought up the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee’s FDA oversight responsibility. https://bit.ly/2RYaNNN He is the minority chair this session.
He said that through the committee’s “focused efforts” FDA is reforming the generic pricing process. He mentioned generics in this context.
He also mentioned the economy and increased jobs and suggested that wages were rising as well. They are, but not very fast. Certainly not fast enough to fill the productivity gap. https://bit.ly/2YWotdF
At the end he said, “This system is sick.” Yet he voted to increase constituent death and suffering.  Pot calling kettle black?
Fortenberry repeatedly used the noun, democrat, (emphasis on “rat”) in place of the adjective, democratic.
  Can we agree that anyone who refers to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat” Party
  simply cannot be taken seriously?

Related links…

May: Has Trump Actually Done Anything About Drug Prices?
The administration has turned public anger at the pharmaceutical industry into real action –
but has also left many meaningful opportunities on the table.
2011: High Court sides with generic drug makers in narrow ruling
 “The justices in a 5-4 ruling said generic drug companies do not share the same level of responsibility as makers of brand-name equivalents, to update their warning labels when significant new risks emerge.”
Related: http://www.takejusticeback.com/news/aaj-ceo-talks-generic-drugs-mike-papantonio

The worst injustices, from Chinese Exclusion to Jim Crow, were possible only by voter suppression that kept minority communities from having a say in government. And it’s happening again today. That’s why we need #HR4 to #restorethevote & stop states from requiring ID or purging rolls – Rep Judy Chu

Here is Rep. Elijah Cummings pledging to fight to the death to #RestoreTheVote (video)
Today: The House will pass #HR4 to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and end voter suppression. The bill now heads to McConnell’s Senate. …
See: https://t.co/1duEqWXuor

Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith opposed the bill http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2019/roll654.xml
Inside (Republican) John Roberts’ Decades-Long Crusade Against the Voting Rights Act https://politi.co/38kl1hq

Hits: 18

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

19 − four =