Friday, January 27, 2006

Prescription for Big Pharma written by Dr. Abramoff

The Medicare Prescription Drug Act is now taking its proud place in the Bush Administration Incompetence Hall of Fame along with the War in Iraq, FEMA and other exhibits. So it's time to find the artist who crafted it so lovingly.

A letter from Democratic House Leader Pelosi to Republican House Speaker Hastert tells us it was the work of "Dr. Feelgood" Jack Abramoff. Here's an excerpt:
The Medicare Prescription Drug Act, which has caused so much confusion and havoc since January 1, was a product of a corrupt legislative process. Whenthe bill passed, we knew that Democratic members had been denied opportunities to offer amendments and that the vote had been held open for hours in the dead of night to twist arms. Afterwards, we learned that crucial cost estimates were illegally withheld from Democratic members; that the key Administration official responsible for writing the bill was simultaneously negotiating a high-paying job representing drug and insurance companies; and that the Republican chairman responsible for steering the legislation through Congress subsequently accepted a lucrative job in the pharmaceutical industry. We further learned about a Republican member who had alleged that a bribe had been offered him on the House floor.

Recently, with the indictments of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, new questions have arisen about the role of the Alexander Strategy Group in this dishonest process. We know from lobby disclosure forms that the largest single client of the Alexander Strategy Group was the pharmaceutical industry, which paid the small firm over $2.5 million, including nearly $1 million in 2003 when the prescription drug law was being written. We also know from these records that the primary lobbyist for the drug industry at Alexander Strategy Group was Tony Rudy, who previously worked for both Mr. DeLay and Mr. Abramoff and who is identified as "Staffer A" in Mr. Abramoff's indictment. And we know from multiple accounts in the news media that the Alexander Strategy Group has been deeply implicated in the scandals now sweeping through Washington.


The Medicare Prescription Drug Act symbolizes all that has gone wrong in Congress. The bill's monstrous complexity frustrates nearly everyone, and its high drug prices enrich the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of seniors and taxpayers. The primary beneficiaries of the legislation have become the special interests that gave millions to Republicans in Congress, not the millions of seniors and persons with disabilities that the legislation was supposed to help. We have an obligation to the public - and especially to the seniors of America - to find out how the legislative process went astray and to hold those responsible to account.
These are the allegations (use the link for many more details, documented by 44 footnotes). Do I believe them? You bet.

And spare me the "just another Bush bashing post" crap. Yes, it's Bush bashing. He deserves it and so do his Republican buddies.