Anyone who thinks it’s going to be easy to get any kind of reasonable health care reform through the Senate is kidding themselves. The way I see it, the United States spends an ungodly amount more on health care per capita than any other country on earth. Any reasonable reform — even if it’s something fairly watered down — will probably have to reduce this. That means money coming out of the pockets of insurers, of HMOs, of pharmaceutical companies, etc. We’ve seen what happens when you try to take money away from, or let’s face it, just reduce the amount of money being given to, well-heeled interests. They don’t take it lying down. Here’s a pretty clear sign from K Street that Big Pharma is going to fight health care reform tooth-and-nail:
Yet another pharmaceutical company is considering putting a Republican in charge of its Washington operations, frustrating some congressional Democrats.[….]
“It’s absurd, at a time when we have the Congress and the White House, that any company in this town would consider hiring a Republican to head their shop,” said a chief of staff for a senior Democratic congressman on a key health subcommittee.
Further aggravating Democrats, the in-house lobbying operations of at least eight of the nation’s largest drug makers are run by Republicans: Abbott Laboratories, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Genzyme and AstraZeneca.
I’m not sure this is so smart. The failure of cramdown legislation showed just how easily some Democratic Senators can be bought. But the thinking might be that 40 Republicans plus Ben Nelson or one of the LA Senators equals a bill defeated. That calculation probably makes sense too.