Saturday, January 13, 2007

Reich on Dems Medicare reform - Where's the teeth?

I've been a big fan of Robert Reich ever since I worked on his Massachusetts gubernatorial bid. I was chief aide to the WMA coordinator, so I interacted with the man and his state organizers often and developed a deep and abiding respect for his ethics and his intellect. When he speaks, I tend to give his view a whole lot of credibility. Reich weighs in on the Democrats' Medicare reform bill, which purports to reform the "reforms" enacted by the GOP.

Reich is not impressed and after reading his review I'm afraid it looks like something of scam. It appears this amounts to little more than political posturing that is attempting to appease the voters without offending the big pharma contributors. Reich advises it basically has no teeth since it calls for negotiating prices but doesn't allow Medicare to "drop from its approved list drugs on which manufacturers fail to offer good deals." So what incentive do the pharmas have to offer fair pricing? You got it. None.

Reich, ever the politic, treats the Democrats gently and suggests they do better.
House Democrats should come up with a bill with real teeth in it -- one that forces drug companies to offer real discounts. Even if it didn't pass this time, a vote on it would at least show whose side its opponents were on. And it would give fodder for Democrats to run on in 2008 -- including a Democratic presidential candidate.
Myself, ever the impolitic, am not inclined to be so kind. Come on Dems. We didn't put you back in power to give us more of the same old sellouts to the deep pocket contributors. Either deliver the goods or start packing your bags, because going through the motions is not going to carry you into the White House in 08.
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