Health Care Reform Follies

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 8, 2009

Let’s review the bidding:

1. As confirmed in an e-mail by Jim Messina, the White House deputy chief of staff, the White House “shared the drug lobbyists’ interpretation of the deal: that any health care overhaul would not include allowing direct government negotiation of drug prices or require certain additional price rebates. Since Wednesday, other representatives of the White House had also stood by Mr. Messina’s statement as well.”

2. House and Senate Democrats got seriously ticked off, and stated that they would not be party to such a deal.

3. Contradicting the clear and distinct evidence found in point #1, the White House then stated that there was no deal to exclude government negotiation of drug prices in the first place.

I cannot imagine too many other sequences of events to make clear to Blue Dog Democrats–let alone, Republicans–that the Obama Administration’s promises and word cannot be trusted when it comes to making promises relating to the health care reform fight. If there is any justice, the Administration’s lobbying efforts on this and other matters will suffer in the future. There is a great deal that one can get away with in Washington. But going back on one’s word regarding a particular legislative matter is the kiss of death for anyone who wants to be a serious player in the making of laws and policy.

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