Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
Drug companies threatening to oppose health bill
WASHINGTON – The drug industry is threatening to end its support for President Barack Obama's health overhaul effort because of a rift with the administration over protecting brand-name biotech drugs from low-cost generic competitors.
In an e-mail obtained Friday by The Associated Press, the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America told the trade group's board members that "we could not support the bill" if the industry is given less than 12 years of competitive protection for the expensive products.
Obama and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., are leading the drive to shorten that period, which proponents argue would be a boon to consumers.
The pharmaceutical industry has been a crucial supporter of Obama's health effort, having spent many tens of millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying in support. Drug companies should profit from the millions of additional people who would be able to afford health coverage under the legislation.
The threat comes with White House officials and Democratic congressional leaders nearing an agreement on compromise legislation reshaping the nation's health care system.
Among groups whose members are calling the White House and congressional leaders in support of the 12 years was the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, representing about 350 biotech firms.
Massachusetts is where a Republican is threatening to capture the Senate seat long held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., in next Tuesday's special election. That could make Obama reluctant to support a policy that could anger employees of one of that state's most important industries. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100115/ap_on_bi_ge/us_health_overhaul_biotech_drugs_5
'Very angry' Democrat sounds alarm
By JOHN BRESNAHAN & PATRICK O'CONNOR | 1/15/10 4:41 AM EST
Democrats moved closer to a final deal on health care reform Thursday — and for some vulnerable members, the end can’t come soon enough.
In an emotional talk with other Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee this week, North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy said the protracted debate is hurting him so badly back home that he might as well retire if it drags on much longer.
A Democrat who attended the Ways and Means session said Pomeroy was “very angry” as he spoke about the delay. “Other folks were upset, but he was the maddest by far.”
“I believe Congress needs to resolve fairly quickly this protracted health care debate,” Pomeroy told POLITICO on Thursday. “We have a number of other issues that haven’t been able to get enough attention, because health care is taking up all the floor time, all of the attention. We need to move on.”
“I would prefer to take this vote soon,” added first-year Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio). “We’ve got to get our focus back to creating jobs, especially back in Ohio, where I feel we’ve suffered disproportionately. So I would prefer to see this come very quickly.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31530.html
Frank: Health reform dead if Coakley loses
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Friday that if Republicans prevail the Massachusetts Senate seat, health care reform is dead. "If Scott Brown wins, it'll kill the health bill," Frank told reporters, although he added that he thought Democrat Martha Coakley would defeat Brown.
Losing the Massachusetts race presents a nightmare scenario for Democrats, many of whom would want to pass the legislation before Brown is seated. But Democrats would face an onslaught of criticism from Republicans, as well as cold feet from rank and file. And the party isn't united on what exactly would happen following a defeat. http://www.politico.com/livepulse/0110/Frank_Health_reform_dead_if_Coakley_loses.html
Good thing government takeover of health insurance is more important than employment, isn't it?