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Salon published an exclusive story that in some ways will surprise no one. For those of us who knew how Big Pharma helped bring down "HillaryCare," their willingness to sacrifice the American people upon the altar of greed is a given. But the depths to which they are willing to betray us and the people we elect to represent us has no limits.

During the fight for the Affordable Care Act, while Billy Tauzin, the president of the pharmaceutical lobby, was speaking of Big Pharma's support for the ACA, the industry was funding the American Legislative Exchange Council, aka ALEC, and their pocket Republicans' efforts to derail it.

Exclusive: Shady double-agent’s Obamacare sabotage: Top “supporter” quietly funded its opposition

...Publicly, PhRMA had banded together in negotiating its conditional support for the Affordable Care Act, and Tauzin, a former Louisiana congressman-turned-lobbyist, was the man responsible for protecting drug industry profits. In exchange for the industry’s public support of healthcare reform, his organization extracted a series of drug pricing concessions from the White House. But privately, Salon has learned, while the industry was outwardly supporting the Affordable Care Act, it was also quietly funding a nationwide effort to derail its implementation at the state level.

Tax records show that PhRMA initiated a series of payments to the American Legislative Exchange Council with a $379,192 contribution in 2008. Tauzin’s powerful lobby continued its payments to ALEC throughout its negotiations with the White House. Between 2008 and 2011, those contributions exceeded $1.25 million.

ALEC, a conservative group serving as a clearinghouse for state-level legislation, opposed the Affordable Care Act and launched its Health Care Freedom Initiative in 2008, the same year that PhRMA initiated its support. The project promised to “expose the truth about ObamaCare and fight back — one state at a time.” It also armed state lawmakers with “14 specific recommendations to push back against Obamacare” and offered boilerplate legislation with its “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.” While publicly disclosed filings show PhRMA’s support of ALEC beginning in 2008, the ALEC-PhRMA relationship may have begun earlier: In 2007, Tauzin received ALEC’s Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award....

Not even rigging the Super Bowl would beat this deep and dirty betrayal of us all. Due to Pharmaceutical Industry, ALEC, and Republican manipulation, millions of people were left unable to enroll in the ACA's Medicaid expansion. Thousands will suffer and die needlessly.

 photo realvictimsofALECandbigPharma_zpse812c5f5.png

As if that wasn't bad enough, Big Pharma and ALEC's efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act are on-going.

No matter how far from universal health care the ACA may be, apparently it is not nearly distant enough. No matter the host of regulations that still need to be put into place to improve health care while reigning in costs and abuse of the system - any regulations are far too many for Big Pharma, ALEC, and other vested interests. Profit and control of that profit rule any other considerations, including the suffering and deaths of our people.

Republicans in State Legislatures and in Congress are hell bent on continuing their scorched earth path of destruction. The last years have shown their determination to destroy health care reform, voting rights, workers rights, women's rights, environmental regulations, civil rights, any action on Climate Change, and the economy, what ever it takes to hold on to power. The pain so many Americans have been experiencing is not an accident. It's by design. We are all being sacrificed on an altar of ideology that says "greed is good." It has to stop and we are the ones who must make that happen.  We simply must take our government back on all levels.  

I wasn't in a good mood before I read the Salon piece. The day started with internet connection issues and there have been problems with FB that freezes FireFox on a regular basis.

Reading the Salon piece did not improve my frame of mind. So consider this fair warning. As far as I'm concerned this is the most important election year of my over sixty year life.

I don't care about it being a "mid term." I don't care about how history says people don't come out and vote during mid-terms. And I really don't care how badly anyone thinks President Obama did "x," "y," or "z," and "should have know better," "sold us out," or should have lived or died on getting the Public Option passed, or dismantled the health insurance industry -  even if doing so meant Health Care Reform and any hope for it died for another hundred years. And please, don't bother telling this woman married to a disabled Viet Vet and with a child who has forever life threatening health issues that "both parties are the same." Walk a year or thirty in my shoes and then get back to me.

We simply don't have time for the luxury of cynicism and despair.

We need to be doing everything possible, no matter how small it may seem to get information out to people. We need to be doing everything to Get out the Vote.

As much as I wish there was, there simply is no other option that has a chance in hell of changing things. If you have one that actually prevents the Supreme Court from becoming even more owned by the Oligarchs and Dominionists I'd love to hear it.

If you have one that can fight back against the Voter Suppression going on in state after state, I'd love to hear about it.

If you have one that shuts down the War on Women, that would be wonderful.

And if you have one that puts ALEC out of business that would be manna to my soul.

Until then, what we have to work with is the system in play and that we can do something about.

Talk to your friends and neighbors. Heck, talk with your mechanic and the folks at the laundry mat. I do. Write Letters to the Editor. Use social media. And sign up somewhere, anywhere, to help GTVO!

I've signed up to help Mike Michaud defeat our odious Governor LePage. That is just one step among many that I can take.

We can all DO something. We made "change happen" last year that the GOP and their owners did not see coming. We can damn well do so again this year.

In November I want to see a groundswell of Democrats lined up at the polls and voting. I want to see Republican voters in Red States voting against the Republicans who have sold them down the river.  I want to see Karl Rove's and the Koch Brothers' faces as the voting numbers come in and they know that they've lost. I want to see MSM's beltway experts have to explain away how they failed yet again.

I want more and better Democrats in the Senate and House and in Legislatures all over the country. I want it so badly I can taste it. How about you?

Let's get it done. Together, we can move mountains. It's time.



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Comment Preferences

  •  It's time to take them down (29+ / 0-)

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:50:10 AM PDT

  •  It's that kind of day, must be in the stars... (8+ / 0-)

    good rant

    Damn the asshats, wherever they reside party-wise, time to take back the night, before it dooms all.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:10:32 AM PDT

  •  You are not alone. (9+ / 0-)

    My mother and I were having a conversation along similar lines just a few days ago.  She is retired, trying to survive on those much touted 401Ks and social security.  So wonderful that her children regularly give her financial assistance.  

  •  I saw where, in the course of accepting (8+ / 0-)

    kudos for "apologizing" (airquoted for a reason) for being wrong about the implementation of this law, a diarist actually GOT MAD at a commenter who said "GOTV" telling them to check themselves.

    even so, I'm sure folks will be along to tell you that nobody here fails to vote and GOTV, and how dare you pretend otherwise lol.

    good rant, Ono.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:29:11 AM PDT

    •  It's so good to see you here, Mally. (5+ / 0-)

      Thanks, just wish more people had shown up. I always think of our wonderful lurkers when I write these things.

      And I was definitely thinking about so many Americans who aren't paying attention and/or getting involved.

      Been reading some comments here and there and the tied may be turning.

      This one gave me hope, anyway.


      More and more people... (110+ / 0-)

      ...are becoming aware of the dire circumstances.

      The other day after school two exhausted teachers and my exhausted self were talking about our crazy day and the state of our world. Our district like so many others has had on going budget cuts and is now looking at additional cuts. One of the teachers said, "I can't believe I voted for Kasich and I hate myself for it. I thought he would trim government spending but I had no idea he hated public education and public school teachers. Now I'm afraid the cuts will never end".

      This is a small hard working not-rich community. It cannot afford to continually make up for state cuts by passing levy after levy. Teachers, county, city and village employees, health district employees, police, fire dep't personnel, etc, etc, make up a big percentage of the middle class that exists here.

      Many of them are taking a cold, hard, angry look at the Republican Party. They feel betrayed, angry, and scared. But they're not sure what to do with those feelings. I know these people very well and love many of them dearly. I wish the Democratic Party would fight like hell loudly, vociferously, and genuinely for them (and for me for that matter), because these people are starting to figure out the Republican party does not represent them.

      by jbsoul on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 07:15:17 PM EDT

      [ Parent | Reply to This ]

      We need to let them know that they're not alone and forgotten.

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:35:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What also pisses me off (6+ / 0-)

    is that a major part of health reform was sacrificed in exchange for PhRMA's support for the law - allowing Medicare to use its buying power to negotiate lower drug prices.

    This would've potentially saved Medicare hundreds of billions of dollars.  But instead Obama and the Democrats agreed to not include this provision in health reform and settled on much smaller drug discount concessions from PhRMA in exchange for PhRMA's support.

    And now it looks like Obama and the Democrats were duped in giving up Medicare bulk price negotiation, since PhRMA ended up working against them anyway.

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:37:51 AM PDT

    •  carrying on.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev, Onomastic, FindingMyVoice

      can't afford my prescriptions meds on my new otherwise wonderful, ACA insurance; fancy that.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:42:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure if Medicare bulk price negotiation (4+ / 0-)

        would've affected ACA drug costs, but it definitely would've shored up Medicare's finances and thus would've blunted calls by austerians to raise the Medicare eligibility age, cut benefits, and/or turn it into a voucher plan.

        Essentially its value would've been to prove that you can cut Medicare's costs without having to shaft enrollees.

        Of course, had there been a public option in the ACA perhaps bulk price negotiation might've accompanied it.  Which is why folks need to keep pushing for a public option and for bulk price negotiation.  

        "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

        by puakev on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:55:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Damn, I'm so sorry. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smiley7, FindingMyVoice, BMScott

        I know that the ACA, just like every Insurance Policy known to man even before the ACA, doesn't cover every drug.

        I'm hoping that if the news about how Big Pharma played everyone gets out that we can do something about that.

        Any chance generic drugs can help with the costs?

        There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

        by Onomastic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:59:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  surprise (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, smiley7, FindingMyVoice

      I suppose no one in the administration ever reads Peanuts. Too hip. "Lucy and the football"? What's that?

      •  I tend to think that good people have a (7+ / 0-)

        hard time understanding how manipulative and dishonest bad people can be.

        God knows I've had a few lessons in that one myself, and none of them were easy.

        Then there is the issue of balancing a "compromise" with the real costs in suffering and human lives if nothing happens.

        None of it is pretty.


        There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

        by Onomastic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 12:04:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You tell 'em, Onomastic! (5+ / 0-)

    Good information (painful if unsurprising to see) and an absolutely GLORIOUS rant.  Thank you, made my day!

    As a former employee of the insurance industry, I fully agree (from personal experience) with your assessment of the profit motive's corrosive effect on American healthcare (both availability and quality).  Thanks again for making sure this was known and for your powerful words.

    •  You're too kind, Joe. :) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, Jon Sitzman, BMScott

      Still editing and wish it was better.

      Really appreciate your personal insight on how Big Pharma works to our harm.

      Thank you, for being here!

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:27:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's painfully simple, actually: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BMScott, kkkkate, Onomastic

        American corporations (excluding - hopefully - B corps) are designed with the express purpose of extracting the maximum amount of profit from whatever aspect of business or industry they address.  This applies to healthcare (Rx and direct care), insurance, and basically anything else you can name.  There are a few exceptions, but only a few.

        Please note that I am NOT condemning the line-level workers of any industry, be they Nurses, CPhTs, Doctors, or workers in the insurance industry.  I AM condemning the high-corporate level executives who exploit the work of those people - and even more heinously, the patients and customers the line-workers do their best to serve - for the purpose of profit extraction.

        This drive for maximal profit manifests in many, many ways.  The old "myth" about insurance companies having staff members who literally do nothing but review claims all day long looking for any possible reason to deny isn't really that much of a myth.  I was one of those people.  Reviewing claims for coverage applicability (read as:  possible deniability) was far from my only duty, but it was definitely high on the list.  As one example, I was once instructed to fight acceptance of liability (auto claim) in circumstances I felt were utterly and indisputably ludicrous.  Our insured was, by evidence and witness account, inarguably at fault (rear-end collision with a school bus - you should not miss a SCHOOL BUS in front of your car, or fail to notice when it stops).  Yet I was directly told by leadership to try and argue for some liability on the fault of the bus driver.  Absurd, pointless, and honestly not even a certain savings of company money - I felt certain the case would go to subrogation and arbitration.  I have no idea if it did, as the claim was taken out of my hands.  But this illustrates the point.  Profit, profit, profit.  Avoid paying (at all or in full) whenever you can.  I could give other examples without thought.  I remember them after more than 10 years.

        I understand that my own experiences are anecdotal, but have spoken with a fair number of people who have had similar experiences both within the insurance and medical industries, and as their customer or patient.  (Related aside - my former brother-in-law also worked for the same insurance corp that I did - we swapped war stories, finding many similarities.)  Experiences largely parallel.

        It's been said here many times before, but is IMO worth repeating:  the profit motive has no place in healthcare.  None.

        Forgive me if my insurance-native examples are less than cogent to the core point.  I am limited in speaking about healthcare more directly due to my current employer and the fact that I use my actual name on this site.

        Thank you for being here too Onomastic.  Keep up the good writing.

  •  appalling that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, poco

    teh geniuses at big pharma fail to recognize ACA is good for them - biotechs have been on a tear (except the last few weeks) for over a year

    •  What's that old quote - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, wilderness voice

      "There are none so blind as those who won't see."

      Something like that.

      I think somewhere in their minds they equate anything that helps other people with hurting them.

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:16:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  bad news inTennessee (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, BMScott, Onomastic

    I just printed out sample ballots for the April county primary.  The Republican ballots has lotsa names for lotsa offices.  The Dem ballot? ONE.  Yeah, I'm depressed.  Read my sig.

    •  Don't surrender. Can you run? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, BMScott, sow hat, jan4insight

      I'm not kidding.  I've asked my wife if she would be comfortable with me running for any sort of public office.  She's not comfortable with it (and the prospect terrifies me too), but I'm that frustrated, and that willing to try and be the needed change.

      Fellow resident of TN, on outskirts of Nashville.  Sorry I missed  the recent meet-up, if you were there.

      I'm totally not kidding.  Even if you lose - if you can, run.  Sometimes it's a good way to change the dialogue.  We WILL lose if we DON'T try.

      •  back in the day (4+ / 0-)

        I'd have been in the front of that line but we elderly folks with broken bodies couldn't limp through it.  Now I just yell at Bible-thumpers who knock on my door or corner me in parking lots.  Feels good, actually.

        Run, man, run.  What's the worst that could happen?  Somebody would find out you had a speeding ticket when you were 16?  Hell, who didn't?

        And you will meet some fabulous people at the meetups!

        •  It's not me that's concerned with it; (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sow hat, Onomastic

          it's my wife.  There are a couple of aspects of her past that any conservative "christian" would have a field day with.  She's basically asked me not to even put her through that, and I totally respect it.

          Thank you for the encouragement, though.  Things can always change in the future.  And hey - HRC's pushing seventy and she's not letting up.  Things can change for you too, sow hat.

          Don't give up!

    •  Can't say I blame you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sow hat

      I have the deepest respect for those in red states fighting to change things around, so please, don't surrender.

      Hope you can make it to a meetup. Perhaps all of you can put your find minds together and come up with some solutions.

      Hang in there, sow hat. You're not alone.

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 03:41:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Crap. Yeah, I'm not awake or functioning. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sow hat

      Meant to write "fine minds" in my first reply to you. Not "find minds." Sorry about that.

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 03:44:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And in other news..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Executive Branch is strengthening the Labor Dept.  With the minimum wage laws, the Labor Dept can now comb through employment records to ensure fair pay for any project using Federal funds.  ANY project.   Buckle up, Halliburton.

    The huge amounts of money poured into campaigns  generally goes to marketing agencies.  They 'brand' the product/politician and sell him/her on low tech,one-way media - television, meetings, billboards, radio.

    You beat them by changing the rules of the game. They rule by written word and communicate in scripted, one-way advertisements.

    So do the opposite.  Get creative and visual.  Make art works about who and what candidates stand for.     Connect politicians to their positions and critique them.   Then build more connections.  Post, tweet, share.  Fund art. Fight for your Humanities.  They are the key to resistance.  

    So we need to make elections intimate and interactive.  Candidate blogs and monthly live chat. Skype.  Use new technology to kick down the mask of marketing.

    Just a few suggestions for possible themes.

    Legislators are asset managers. We elect them to manage our common wealth and provide a return on our tax dollar investment.  Our portfolio includes transit systems, education, water, minerals, gas and oil roads, schools and public buildings.  The wealth our parents bought us with THEIR taxes.  "Privatization" is our trustees selling our homes and then forcing us to rent them back.   First they neglected them, favoring 'development.'  Then they defunded them, sold them for bargain prices and made us hostage to the new owners. "Contracting services" means you are being taken hostage.  You pay what they demand, because you lost your ability to do it yourself.  You're the goose that laid golden eggs.

    Legislators are NOT paid to legislate morality.  They are there to keep corporations out of our pockets and religion a private, individual inner affair.  Unlike Europe as America was being colonized.  Where wholesale slaughter over who gets to translate the Bible into vernacular was in full swing.

    The reek of burnt flesh filled the nostrils of the Continental Congress as they made the State the wall between religious fury and individuals.  Salem was an old world cancer erupting.  

    The GOP is attempting to undo the Protestant Revolution and challenge the Pope for the Vatican throne. Complete with Inquisitions.

    The Constitution rejected the divinity of royalty.  And royalty itself.  And the Pope, who had his personal army, and bullied Catholic Kings. They offered G. Washington a crown - he refused.  

    Sorry for the ramble.  Jonesing to lecture....

    Knowledge is power.  Ignorance is slavery. Hegemony sucks.

    Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

    by nolagrl on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:46:49 PM PDT

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