Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Obamacare: Great For Drug Companies, Bad For the Public

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Why are the drug barons planning a $150 million ad campaign boosting Obama's health care scheme? They've got $21 billion worth of reasons – bonus earnings from record price hikes while wheeling and dealing with the White House. Everything the president touches turns to cash – for the corporate sector.

 

White House “Deal” Turns into Bonanza for Drug Industry

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“Obama's dealmaking in the White House is nothing less than collusion with the cartel.”

President Obama is very good at talking “the language of the deal.” He made a deal with the the drug cartel this summer, ostensibly to keep drug prices down to reduce the overall cost of health care. The drug companies promised they would cut the prices they planned to charge by about $8 billion a year for the next ten years. Now an analysis for AARP shows the drug profiteers have actually raised prices by more than $10 billion in the last year, an increase of more than 9 percent and the biggest price hike in 17 years.

Good lookin' out out, Obama. Or should I say, Good job of selling out, Mr. President. The drug industry is so happy with the deal it cut with the White House, it's launching a $150 million advertising campaign to boost ObamaCare – a cheap price to pay for yet another Obama bailout of the ruling class, this time for Big Pharma.

At the same time that the industry was pushing up drug prices by 9.3 percent, the price of generic drugs declined by about 9 percent. That means the drug cartel, under cover of Obama's deal, transformed a downward trend in pharmaceutical prices into the biggest price surge since 1992.

And what else is the drug monopoly getting from the dealmaker in the White House? Thirty million new customers, served up on a platter under the banner of health care reform.  This is bait-and-switch with a vengeance. When Obama is the dealmaker, “reform” translates into instant, unprecedented profits for the corporate sector. Under this administration, the words “reform” and “bailout” are virtually synonymous.

“The drug cartel, under cover of Obama's deal, transformed a downward trend in pharmaceutical prices into the biggest price surge since 1992.”

The House version of health care reform, passed on November 7th, calls for $14 billion a year in savings on drugs, but most of those savings have already been gutted by the drug industry. So what did the Democrats accomplish by deferring to the deal struck by the White House? They have made themselves look ridiculous, irrelevant.

The drug industry pulled the same trick back in 2006, when Congress expanded the Medicare subsidized drug program by tens of millions of older people. Back then, Big Pharma seized the opportunity to push prices through the roof. Now they've done it again.

If Barack Obama is not a pro-big business president, then who is? He has guaranteed the drug barons tens of millions of captive customers, shielded the industry from pesky progressives in Congress by cutting a side deal at the White House, and then allowed the corporations to reap a $21 billion boondoggle based entirely on artificially inflated prices.

Why do Americans pay so much more for pharmaceuticals than anyone else on the planet? Because the drug industry is a cartel that sets prices as it sees fit. Barack Obama's dealmaking in the White House is nothing less than collusion with the cartel.

No one questions Barack Obama's intelligence. He is clearly a brilliant man. Therefore, one can only conclude that he is part of the con game. Obama is dealing from the bottom of the deck, passing all the good cards to his corporate partners. And the people get fleeced every time.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20091118_gf_DrugPrices.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:18pm EDT