This, from the January 10 AM Congress Daily, is just too funny to pass up:
Grassley also expressed irritation with Democratic proposals to tap the Medicare Advantage program, which is designed to encourage preferred provider organizations in rural areas to help fill the so-called doughnut hole in the Medicare prescription drug program.
"Democrats generally don't like Medicare Advantage because they don't like the free market working. And consequently, they wouldn't mind weakening it.”
Understand? Opposing government subsidies to insurance companies is proof Democrats don’t like the free market.
If ever one needed proof that Republicans’ use of free market ideology is just a cover for subservience to the corporations, this is it.
Medicare Advantage: Another Giveaway to Corporate America
When Congress passed the Medicare prescription drug bill, they were afraid that, left to its own devices, the workings of the free market would result in little or no coverage for rural areas. In other words, there was not enough money to be made there, so insurance companies would avoid these areas.
So Republicans included in the bill $17 billion in government subsidies called Medicare Advantage to entice insurers – either an admission that the free market cannot serve health needs without government intervention and subsidy or just a flatout giveaway to the insurance industry. Take your pick.
Either way Medicare Advantage is the antithesis of free market economics.
Senate Dems Try to Lower Drug Prices
Meanwhile the Senate is gearing up to debate a different de facto subsidy in the Medicare drug bill – the prohibition on the government trying to negotiate for lower drug prices. The Republican/Grassley position is that the amount of taxpayers’ money gets spent on these drugs is a question that should be left to drug companies or the insurance industry.
In honor of the occasion I thought I would pass on an appropriate little story.
After the Senate passed the Medicare Drug bill, they sent a delegation looking for support from the House Blue Dogs. One of the Blue Dogs told me this story which he swears is true:
After the Senators made their pitch, one of the Blue Dogs asked, “Why did you prohibit the government from negotiating for lower prices?”
One Senator, obviously not the sharpest knife in the draw, answered: “Because the drug companies asked us to.”
Out of the mouths of babes. Or in this case the mouths of Senators who have lost their Talking Points.