John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Health Care Bill Gets Worse, In a Hurry

Posted on January 15, 2010

Health Care Bill Gets Worse, In a Hurry

Barney Frank, the always quotable Congressman from Massachusetts, said earlier today that if the Democrat contender for Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat, Martha Coakley, loses to the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, the President’s health care bill is “dead”.

That is probably giving the people of Massachusetts an even bigger reason to vote for Brown.

Behind closed doors, this health care bill is getting worse, in a hurry.

Not only is the process defying the wishes of the American people.  Remember when the President said during last year’s campaign that he promised that his health care bill would be negotiated in the open, in front of the C-SPAN cameras.  Well, that didn’t happen, did it?

Basically, the President is telling the American people that they can’t handle the truth of the legislative process.  And they don’t like that very much.

The amazing thing is that on one particular provision, the White House and a few powerful barons of the House are defying the wishes of the Congress, too.

This provision has to do with biological drugs.

America leads the world in biological drug research.  Because we have a free-market system, we have more small companies who are looking for the cures to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease and AIDS, than any other country in the world.

This industry creates not only the life-saving drugs of the future.  It also creates the good paying jobs now and in the future.

The provision that both the House and Senate agreed to would allow this industry to continue to thrive, by allowing these companies to have the exclusive use of their patents for a reasonable time frame, to allow them to recoup their investments and give the industry enough incentives to make it attractive to continue to invest in the sector.

Makes sense, right?

We need investment in the life-saving drugs of the future.  We need good paying jobs.  What’s the problem?

The problem is that Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, didn’t like the provision.  He doesn’t really like private industry in the first place, and he didn’t like getting rolled in the Committee, which he did when Anna Eshoo easily won an amendment during the Committee mark-up, which Mr. Waxman opposed.

The Eshoo amendment protected the inventions of the small researchers who are doing their best to create the next generations of cures.

The White House is going to screw Mr. Waxman on a variety of different things in this conference committee.  They are going to drop the public option.  They are going not do the huge tax on so-called rich people.  They are not going to go to a single-payer system.

So, they decided to throw Mr. Waxman a bone, by screwing the only industry that is both creating the life-saving medicines and the high-paying jobs of the future.

That is what I call ugly.  And that is the kind of stuff that is making Scott Brown, who has promised to vote against this health care monstrosity, a much more likely winner next Tuesday, than Martha Coakley, who has promised to vote for it, could have ever imagined only two weeks ago.

A bad process is leading to a bad result on health care reform, and that will lead to a bad election day for the Democrats next Tuesday.

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