In June, the Senate Finance Committee and the White House jubilantly announced that they'd come to a deal with the pharmaceutical industry. But as details of that deal have come out, the White House has issued mixed and conflicting messages as to what they knew and what they'd signed off on.
At the time, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chair of the Senate Finance Committee, announced that pharmaceutical companies had agreed to a deal as part of an overall health care reform package, where the companies will provide, as Baucus put it, "affordable prices on prescription drugs when Medicare benefits don't cover the cost of prescriptions," as well as kicking in some money for health care reform efforts.
President Obama said in a paper statement that "the agreement reached today to lower prescription drug costs for seniors will be an important part of the legislation I expect to sign into law in December. This is a tangible example of the type of reform that will lower costs while assuring quality health care for every American."
But on Thursday the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick reported that under pressure from pharmaceutical industry lobbyists, the White House "assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion."
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