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Was There Ever a Deal Between the White House and Pharma?

The White House now appears to be telling Congress that there was no deal to protect the pharmaceutical industry from further cuts. Max Baucus is now saying there was no deal to protect the pharmaceutical industry from further cuts. That could be because they're breaking the deal or it could be because Billy Tauzin misrepresented the deal or it could be because Billy Tauzin misunderstood the deal.

In any case, health-care reform is important. If the White House has to break its secret friendship pact with Bill Tauzin, then so be it.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 5:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

Billy Tauzin was an idiot for trying to make his deal with Obama in the first place. The White House doesn't write legislation. If a bill allowing, say, Medicare negotiations comes out of the Congress, is Obama likely to veto it to protect PHRMA? Not likely. And absent a veto threat, how exactly did Tauzin expect to make his deal with the White House stick in Congress?

I read Timothy Noah this morning on how Tauzin rolled the White House to get far less in savings than was possible. You could equally well argue the White House rolled Tauzin, getting PHRMA's big advertising guns off the battlefield for a long time based on a deal that couldn't possibly work.

Posted by: pj_camp | August 8, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There's a simple test: Big Pharma's pouring a lot of money into advertising for health insurance "reform." If that amount drops, there was a deal, and Obama broke it.

But if the amount doesn't drop, those millions sure look like a "quid" to me, and one can only wonder what the "pro quo" might be.

Posted by: lambert_strether | August 10, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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