Senate Republicans stick it to Medicaid patients while pharma remains silent

It would be a big mistake to call the legislation Senate Republicans released on Thursday a health care bill. It is, plain and simple, a plan to cut taxes for the wealthy by destroying critical federal programs that help provide health care to tens of millions of people. Even with this charade pharma seems happy because “they got what they want” from this President.

According to Robert Reich “make no mistake: The Senate’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not a healthcare bill. It’s a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, paid for by a dramatic reduction in healthcare funding for approximately 23 million poor, disabled, and working middle class Americans . America’s wealthiest taxpayers (earning more than $200,000 a year, $250,000 for couples) would get a tax cut totaling $346 billion over 10 years.

If enacted, it would be one of the largest single transfers of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history, at a time when the rich already have a higher percentage of the nation’s wealth and income than in over a century.

There will be a lot of losers if the House GOP’s disastrous plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ever becomes law: people with preexisting medical conditions, working families, older folks, kids.

One of the few winners would be the nation’s pharmaceutical industry: $28 billion richerthanks to a big tax cut. The Senate is likely to keep this tax break in its version of the legislation.  Big Pharma has been getting fat off American consumers and public health systems for years. Prescription drug prices have surged eight times faster than the general rate of inflation over the past decade.

The New York Times reports that the Trump White House is about to put out an executive order on drug pricing, and it looks as if the whole thing were basically written by big pharma.   According to the report and similar reporting from Kaiser Health News and Politico, a draft executive order includes nothing to curb prices. Instead, drug companies would be in line to get more power to charge monopoly prices overseas and be allowed to give even fewer discounts to hospitals with poor patients . And the administration is promising to roll back regulations that pharma has complained about.

This can all be traced back to a meeting President Donald Trump had with pharmaceutical CEOs back in January. There, he basically outlined that he would be doing everything that’s in the draft executive order, but he also told executives, “You have to keep your prices down.”

That was it. Then they all got in their private jets and flew back to their corner offices I am still waiting for a pharma company CEO, any CEO, to stand up and do/say the right thing.  If we continue to hear silence than it is proof that the balance sheet is indeed more important than patients.

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