When President-elect Donald Trump speaks the truth, people listen and they react. Some reactions are positive, some not so much. In his Wednesday press conference Mr. Trump decried pharmaceutical companies for taking their manufacturing outside of the US and their exorbitant pricing to Americans as “getting away with murder.” There were two prompt responses to the President-elect’s comments. The nine biggest pharmaceutical companies on the S&P 500 lost approximately $24.6 billion in 20 minutes, and their boy in DC, Paul Ryan, jumped in with a promise to educate everybody on the true nature of the situation.
Mr. Trump said, “We have to get our drug industry coming back. Our drug industry has been disastrous. They’re leaving left and right. They supply our drugs but they don’t make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they’re getting away with murder. Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly. We’re going to start bidding. We’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.”
In a subsequent interview with the Washington Post, Mr. Trump added to the scope of his Big Pharma observations, saying, “They’re politically protected, but not anymore.” Proving that the word may not have reached everybody that they’re not politically protected any longer, Paul Ryan jumped to their defense.
In an interview with Mike Allen of Axios, reported by Breitbartl.com, Ryan said he wants to “have more conversations about” Trump’s efforts to crack down on Big Pharma corruption before the president-elect—soon to be president—does so.” Could it be that he wants to water-down the effort, in typical DC fashion, to prevent anything meaningful from being done on behalf of the American people, protecting his corporate elite masters?
Ryan isolated the conversation to one area of the system rather than the whole rotting, exploitative heap, saying, “I believe that the current premium support system with Part D works extremely well. I think there’s some real success stories … and I think we need to tell that story.” That sounds a lot like a diversion attempt, Mr. Speaker.
Allen asked if telling those stories included telling them to Mr. Trump, Ryan replied that it needs to be told to “a lot of people.” Perhaps anyone considered a threat to the financially lucrative status quo.
He said, “I think Tom Price [Trump’s HHS nominee] understands this issue extremely well.” If Ryan is going to butt heads with Trump over this one he may be indicating he sees an ally in Price and that conversations between the two of them have already taken place. We’d better keep an eye on Rep Price, who’s already facing questions regarding conflicts of interest between his legislation and investments in healthcare companies.
Allen asked Rep Ryan, acting in the interview in protection of drug companies, specifically about Mr. Trump’s comment to the Washington Post that drug companies aren’t protected anymore, to which Ryan replied in his typical circular, ambiguous language, “I don’t speak like that, generally speaking. I’m always looking for win-win situations, and I believe there’s a lot more we can do to bring down the price of drugs.”
By “speak like that,” it appears that Rep Ryan was describing his aversion to straight, truthful talk. He looks for win-wins, where his corporate masters win and he wins, with just enough confusion and deception thrown into the language to make it appear that there’s a win of some type in there for the American people as well. It just has to be sold properly. That’s why the Chamber of Commerce made him Speaker, and why he “wants to have more conversations.”
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