Quid Pro Quo

We noted here that the drug companies intend to spend $150 million–more than the McCain campaign’s entire television advertising budget–on ads supporting Obamacare. Today on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked Linda Douglass whether the ad campaign was part of the deal that the drug companies struck with the Obama administration:

BLITZER: Did the White House make a secret deal with PhRMA, the pharmaceutical lobby here in Washington, that would limit how much cost reductions they would have going forward over the next 10 years?
DOUGLASS: Here is what — what happened. The White House, the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate Finance Committee agreed that the pharmaceutical industry would contribute $80 billion over 10 years — a very, very substantial sum of money that would lower the high cost of prescription drugs for seniors, who are paying exorbitant costs for prescription drugs. That was a crucial piece of this deal, as well as other steps that they would take to lower costs.
It’s an $80 billion agreement. That’s what the White House, the Senate Finance Committee and PhRMA have agreed to. And the final details are being worked out with the — with the Senate Finance Committee.
BLITZER: Did PhRMA, in exchange, make a promise of $150 million to pay for advertising to help the president’s plan go forward?
DOUGLASS: What — what you have, Wolf, is this deal that is $80 billion. And we are very pleased, obviously, that — that the pharmaceutical industry agrees with us, that there’s an urgent need for comprehensive health insurance reform that’s going to protect Americans from unfair rules, from rising costs. They agree with that. They’ve agreed with it from the beginning. That’s why they came to us and we worked out this agreement with the pharmaceutical industry. And they’re supporting health reform legislation. And that is good for the country.
BLITZER: So is part of the deal that they would support this legislation, go forward with $150 million in advertising?
DOUGLASS: You know, Wolf, part of the agreement here is that we’re all going to work together to bring comprehensive health reform. I mean, clearly, the pharmaceutical industry said we are going to support comprehensive health reform. And that’s what they’re doing.

I guess that’s a yes. This is beyond Astroturf; this is a veritable Jurassic Park of fake foliage.

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