9/16-17 News Roundup & Open Thread at Benny’s Bar
We’ll start with a Common Dreams piece about Sanders and others reaction to three center-right House Dems voting against Medicare having negotiating authority for prescription prices.
After three House Democrats voted against a key plank of their party’s plan to lower prescription drug prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that Congress must ensure the provision is included in the final budget reconciliation package despite objections from conservative lawmakers.
“The good news is that the full Congress must and will do far better,” Sanders added. “At a time when the drug companies are charging us by far the highest prices in the world, Congress must demand that Medicare negotiate prices with this extremely greedy and powerful industry.”
The Vermont senator’s statement came after a popular proposal to let Medicare directly negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies failed to pass the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a 29-29 vote. Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) joined their GOP colleagues in voting against the provision, which is backed by the White House and the Democratic leadership.
Medicare, the largest buyer of prescription medicines in the U.S., is currently barred by federal law from negotiating prices with drug manufacturers thanks to a “non-interference clause” that progressives have long sought to repeal. Democrats’ current proposal would amend the clause to allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare—a plan that could dramatically cut costs for patients and produce hundreds of billions of dollars in federal savings over the next decade.
A version of the plan was included in legislation (H.R. 3) that the House passed in late 2019 with the support of Peters, Rice, and Schrader. But the conservative Democrats are balking now that the proposal—once a mere messaging and campaign tool—actually has a chance of becoming law.
The pharmaceutical industry is fervently opposed to allowing the federal government to negotiate drug costs, which would threaten companies’ ability to set sky-high prices. The Government Accountability Office estimated earlier this year that in 2017, Medicare Part D paid twice as much for the same prescription medicines as the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is allowed to directly negotiate prices.
According to a study published last week by Gallup and West Health, more than 15 million U.S. adults under the age of 65 and 2.3 million seniors were unable to afford at least one doctor-prescribed medication this year.
“The pharmaceutical industry has spent over $4.5 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past 20 years and has hired some 1,200 lobbyists to get Congress to do its bidding. They are the most powerful industry on Capitol Hill,” Sanders said Wednesday. “Nonetheless, the American people are demanding that Congress stand up to them and finally lower the outrageous price of prescription drugs by requiring Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry.”
“Now is the time for Congress to show courage and stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry,” the Vermont senator added. “The American people will not accept surrender.”
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the industry’s top lobbying organization, applauded Peters, Rice, and Schrader for stopping the Medicare negotiation plan from passing out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Peters and Schrader are both major recipients of pharma donations.
“This should be a strong signal to the House leadership that there is broad support for lowering costs for patients without sacrificing access to new cures and treatments,” the group said, deploying its favorite—and highly misleading—talking point against the proposal.
Aija Nemer-Aanerud, the Healthcare for All organizer at People’s Action, said Wednesday that the three Democrats’ votes were “a bald-faced display of corporate allegiance.”
“We’re living through a once-in-a-generation opportunity to win big for poor and working people,” said Nemer-Aanerud. “Today’s actions prove they want nothing to do with this vision.”
Despite the provision’s failure in the Energy and Commerce Committee, Sanders and other top lawmakers in the Democratic caucus voiced confidence that Medicare price negotiation will ultimately be included in the final reconciliation package. Nemer-Aanerud noted that the House Rules Committee has the ability to insert the Medicare negotiation language ahead of floor debate on the reconciliation bill.
Soon after the plan was rejected by Energy and Commerce, the House Ways and Means Committee—which also has jurisdiction over health policy—approved it, with Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) voting no. House Democrats can only afford three no votes on the final reconciliation package, which lawmakers hope to complete by the end of the month.
David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, applauded the Ways and Means panel’s vote and said Democrats must “fulfill their promise to pass strong Medicare negotiation to lower drug prices on behalf of Americans.”
“The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee stood strong with patients today by voting to advance H.R. 3 in the reconciliation package,” said Mitchell. “The inclusion of this strong Medicare negotiation legislation fuels momentum towards comprehensive, meaningful reform to provide relief to millions of Americans facing high drug prices in this country.”
More news, tweets, and perspectives along with your comments below. This also serves an open thread. Benny’s Bar will be open for beverages and maybe a video jukebox!
T and R, Ms. Benny!! 🐋☮️😊👍You all on here have heard me tell you that Stephanie Murphy is a RW bought off jackazz who calls herself a Democrat. She’s my US House Rep and I can’t stand her. I only voted for her when she ran the first time against a GOPuker who was even worse. She also plays on the fact she’s an Afro-American. Whoopee. If hubster passes before me, and I am in half decent shape, physically/mentally, I and pups are outta here! 🐶🤎🐶💩
The rest of the medley..this cover is by the Broadway group, Rain.
Emboldened by recall win, Democrats brush aside talk of unity and escalate attacks on Republicans
I think the DCCC should consider whether or not to support those three incumbents or other House members who won’t fall in line and are voting with R’s. Better yet, we need candidates to run against them.
Which leads to this story…
With Texas at Center of Abortion Fight, NARAL Backs Cisneros Over Cuellar for 2022
I guarantee Cuellar isn’t the only anti-choice Democrat in the House. 💩
Warren Buffett’s favorite investment won’t be as appealing if lawmakers pass a 2% tax on stock buybacks
They better figure out a way to dampen the influence rich aholes like Buffett, Kochs, Mercers, Sacklers, etc. have bribing Congresscretins to death.
Time to walk the talk?
Buffett says he’s still paying lower tax rate than his secretary
House Tax Proposal Falls Short of Making Billionaires Pay Their Fair Share
From the Daily Poster:
Oh for crissakes, when is the bought off craporate media going to call bribes, bribes?? And Stephanie Murphy? Can I throw up now? I despise that RW bought off bitch. She ought to throw a slumber party with Wasserman Schultz and the two of them can fall asleep on the very deep mattress of $$bribes$$ they both have. 💩💩💩💩💩
Wait, I thought you liked them? 😂😂😂
Thanks for keeping us abreast of the shenanigans in Florida!
Start calling this propaganda horseshit what it actually is: buying off/bribing politicians. Campaign contributions, lobbying? Just fancy linguistical crap covering up what actually goes down. Nothing new about it, either. 💩🤬
We The People and General welfare has been eliminated by the Craprate over lords and by thier new craprate fascist govt. (Bought and paid for) If a “Cocoon” starship wanderd by i’d be gone. The Earth is going down fast and all the PTB are worried about are Control and Profit
Oh yes, if it was a ‘Cocoon’ situation, it would be super tempting.
Richard Neal and Nancy Pelousy? Couple of real “environmentalists.”
Love me some Bernie. Went to Lowes last week wearing one of my Bernie t-shirts and the young woman helping me, admired it. Said she once went to a Bernie rally and it was so exciting.
My latest t-shirt is one Anna Eskamani has called: “Governor Who?” for that idiot we endure down here in Dumbshine State-ville. When I wear it, no reaction, but not surprising as I follow strict CV protocol and rarely go out.
You surely are severely tried down there in Florida!
Saw a vid the other day, youngish man was asked if he’d bother voting (this was back in early 2020) his shoulders slumped, but then he brighened saying, “Well yes, if for my man Bernie!”
Dems don’t seem to realize that they need something to drive voter turnout.
(“My man Bernie!” did my heart good)
Bernie, knock off calling it lobbying and call it what it actually is: BRIBERY!! You have nothing to lose.
At least Biden is talking about income equality? 😬
It was somewhat odd to hear Biden talking about that today, but I’m glad he did.
Funny how the Dems scream the loudest about income equality and other topics when thier not in power. Once they get power they cant get their shit toegether and do something about it!!! Dont get me wrong i would love to see the voting rights bill pass and Bernies 3.5 bill pass but the Dems just dont inspire confidence at the moment.
I have mixed feelings about Dems like Pelosi and Biden talking about how unequal America is, because it fills liberals hearts with joy and makes them feel satisfied and like all is well and the reality is Pelosi and Biden will not live by that. I’m glad for the programs that Bernie has helped usher through, but there is so much more that he could do with the flick of a finger.
otoh, yes, If people in power say it, at least it brings it more to the attention of everyone and perhaps someday will allow them to realize that they can push for more, that they don’t have to defend the extremely flawed blue candidate all the time, especially once she’s elected.
Agree, should be a no-brainer. Failure to do so would be very telling on how serious the Establishment team is about passing the bill.
the dccc IS a donor org.
I’ll eat my hat if anything is done to him for this I imho, he knows he’s safe
Heads up if you have cable and time..
That is a great tune and that’s saying something. 🙂
It looks like this overturns the state judge ruling. Still up in the air is the corrupt federal judge ruling.
Second Circuit stays Sinatra’s order
Thanks J for being so thorough here. A day to celebrate for progressives for sure.
hallelujah! 🌧 in the 🏜
Even Pelousy can get it right once in a while,
“I’d say to my Republican friends — and I do have some — take back your party. You’re the Grand Old Party of America. “You’re now being hijacked by a cult. That’s just not good for our country.”
In the vein of “we need a strong Republican party,” huh? Not a fan of the sentiment.
We have no need for any political party to the right of the Establishment Democrats.
what ever you say Clarence
My favorite grafix!!! 🙂 🙂
Granted they are making these proclamations in Republican strongholds, but no responsible journalist should re-publish this nonsense without highlighting the records of these robed buffoons.
Bernie on Chris Hayes last night.
Probem it that craprate america only cares about next quarters profit margin, 5 -10-50 years from now inst in thier thought process unless thier a profit windfall associated with the time line.
I happened to listen to some of Biden’s speech around noon while eating food (tv channel=hubby’s choice) and was somewhat heartened to hear Joe cite stats asserting that ‘every dollar investested now results in a six-fold return down the road’
(or something to that effect, my taking-notes hand was occupied with eating some much needed sustenance)
I have to wonder who’s whispering in his ear..every now and then I hear Bernie stuff.
At one point during the short bit I saw I must admit I expressed concern at Joe’s overall delivery, it didn’t seem very robust, but mr. mags (a total Independent) jumped in to Biden’s defense.
I think there’s a segment out there that’s just happy Biden isn’t being crazy man.
Actually good to see that some of the movement leaders are still at it, but getting elected too!
Wow, that was only 10 years ago?? It seems like a lifetime.
Somehow we need to put Bernie in the ring with Manchin, it’s really come down to this.
Who wants to start a petition with me to have a debate between Sanders vs. Manchin?
It would certainly make good ratings (and my money is on Bernie).