Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If You Can't Lick 'Em...

Timothy Carney in the Washington Examiner notes President Obama's apparent turnaround on lobbying by PhRMA:

Candidate Obama made practically a career of holding up Billy Tauzin, former Congressman and President of PhRMA, as the main poster child for what was wrong with the Washington special-interest system--how Tauzin helped write a bill for Medicare Part D especially favorable to the drug industry, then switched sides and started collecting a $2M annual paycheck from PhRMA.

Since Obama became president, guess which lobbyist has visited the White House frequently, asks Carney, noting that visitor logs just released show Tauzin dropping in on his buddy Barack (or somebody in the White House) at least 11 times in the first 6 months of the new administration.

We have not very closely followed the story of how the horsetrading has gone between the administration and PhRMA over the year 2009. At first it seemed as if the White House had won a significant victory by getting PhRMA to agree to forgo $80B in future profits in the name of health care cost control. It later started to appear more evident that PhRMA simply planned to drive prices high enough before reform takes effect to compensate for the later losses in higher initial prices, making their apparent sacrifice instead a wash. So just who many have snookered whom in the negotiations over PhRMA's support for reform has yet to be determined.

The fact remains however that PhRMA at least officially and up front has claimed that it is supporting the Obama health reform effort. So one naturally might ask--how often did lobbyists for other organizations that support reform visit the White House during those months? There may be nothing exceptional about Tauzin's schedule when one looks at the bigger picture.

1 comment:

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