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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Did Obama Sell Out House and Senate Democrats On Drug Industry?

House and Senate Democrats claim they will not be "bound" by Obama's Drug Industry deal, but we will see.


Caught between a pivotal industry ally and the protests of Congressional Democrats, the Obama administration on Friday backed away from what drug industry lobbyists had said this week was a firm White House promise to exclude from a proposed health care overhaul the possibility of allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices under Medicare.

The reversal underscored the delicate balancing act the White House has pursued in its strategy of negotiating behind-the-scenes deals to win industry support without alienating liberal supporters on Capitol Hill.

Pressed by drug industry lobbyists, a White House deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, confirmed in an e-mail message on Wednesday that 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.

After reading reports about Mr. Messina’s e-mail message, House and Senate Democrats loudly protested that they would not be bound by any such agreement to remove clauses allowing government negotiation of drug prices under Medicare — something Democrats have sought for years.

Read the whole piece, first the Obama administration denied making such a deal, then they backed away from that statement and now this news hits the wires.

Huffington Post says White House has confirmed the deal with the drug industry:

White House spokesman Reid Cherlin confirmed that despite Thursday's uncertainty the deal outlined in the New York Times still stands.