HOW TO SCARE A REPUBLICAN….The LA Times reports that the Medicare prescription bill has become such an albatross for Republicans that they’re actually willing to ? brace yourself ? stand up to a major campaign contributor and allow the government to negotiate lower prices for drugs:
The vote to allow the government to negotiate for discounts on drugs marked a major policy reversal for the Senate and a rare move against the pharmaceutical industry, one of the leading donors to federal political campaigns, with most of its money going to Republicans. Negotiations for drug discounts were barred under the 2003 law that created the drug benefit.
….Democrats have long said that the government, which spends billions of dollars annually on pharmaceuticals through Medicare, ought to be able to negotiate with drug companies for volume discounts, as other big customers do.
But it took until Wednesday for enough Republicans to agree and for the Senate to take action.
See? Republicans can do the right thing after all if you just make it clear enough that their jobs are in danger. Later this year, as the dreaded doughnut hole comes into play and seniors realize how much their drugs are going to cost them under the Republican plan, expect to see action on that front too.
And in related news (see the end of the same story for details), President Bush continues to dodge and weave about the cost of the program. The name “Richard Foster” is slowly seeping into people’s consciousness.