Know Who You Are Making a Deal With
|Special Interests Rattled
All of this is rattling the special interests that thought they were cagey enough to cut deals that would stick with the Democrats. Just how much do these guys get paid for being idiots? The AMA and the AHA are suddenly worried about a big expansion of Medicare payment rates to a whole new population on top of the big expansion of Medicaid payments. PhRMA is looking at the rebirth of its worst fear – “reimportation” of drugs from price-controlled countries. Even AARP is nervous about the “Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB)” which would be empowered to cut Medicare benefits almost unilaterally.
The Washington Post summarizes all this nicely in an article headlined, “Deals cut with health groups may be at peril.” The article says, “On the floor and behind closed doors, the Senate wrestled Saturday with amendments that would impose additional cost-control requirements on hospitals, doctors and drug companies, squeezing out savings beyond the considerable sums those groups had already volunteered to give up.”
It goes on to cite an amendment sponsored by Senators Lieberman, Specter, and Collins that would “impose stiff penalties on hospitals with high infection rates.” And one sponsored by Sen. Dorgan that would, “permit U.S. pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import lower-priced medications from other countries, including Canada.” There is also an amendment sponsored by Sen. Nelson that “would transfer about 6 million seniors eligible for Medicare into the Medicaid program, which pays much lower prices for the same drugs.” And AARP is going up against the White House in opposing the IMAB. The Post writes, “Senior White House officials view the board as a critical component of health reform, the enforcement mechanism to guarantee that all the well-intentioned ideas for making hospitals and doctors more efficient translate into savings for the government.”
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