Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Obama Failed To Create A Single-Payer and Universal Medicare-For-All Program In The United States

Jeffrey B. Kindler, who retired as Pfizer's chairman and chief executive at the end of 2011, has joined Lux Capital as a venture partner...The hiring marks Mr. Kindler's most prominent business appointment since his contentious departure from Pfizer. He became the pharmaceutical giant's chief in 2006...His signature achievement was orchestrating the $68 billion takeover of Wyeth in 2009, kicking off a huge wave of health care mergers by drug maker...At Lux, Mr. Kindler will again be called upon for his deal-making skills, helping to find new health care investments and working with existing portfolio companies. The firm has already invested in the likes of Cerulean Pharma and Kala Pharmaceuticals….Besides his new post at Lux, Mr. Kindler works as a senior adviser to Paragon Pharmaceuticals and as a director at Starboard Capital Partners, a private equity firm.”

--from the August 8, 2012 issue of the New York Times

Why Obama Failed To Create A Single-Payer and Universal Medicare-For-All Program In The United States

In his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One, Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter indicated why a Single-Payer and Universal Medicare-For-All Program, similar to the Canadian health care system, was not established in the United States by the Democratic Obama administration between 2009 and 2012:

“…The [Obama health care reform] plan called for…winning support—or at least neutrality—from the insurance and drug industries (compensated by the arrival of 30 million new customers)…Obama…said the goal was `comprehensive health care reform by the end of the year.’…He warned `liberal bleeding hearts’ not to get…ambitious about universal coverage…Everything…([except] a single-payer plan, which he had ruled out in 2008…) was on the table…Jeffrey Kindler, the CEO of Pfizer, the drug giant, happens to be a Democrat…The industry would pay for the media to build public support for the plan…On May 11 [2009]…Obama met in the Roosevelt Room with industry…representatives…

“…The White House began cutting its own deals…Obama agreed to speak to the AMA convention—the first president to do so in a quarter century—and open the door to malpractice reform…in exchange for doctors’ not actively opposing him…All the claims of no quid pro quo couldn’t obscure the major deal cut in the Roosevelt Room in July [2009] between Rahm Emanuel and Billy Tauzin…representing the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, better known as PhRMA…The Drug industry…stood to gain billions from the legislation…

“On one level the loud public option debate was good for the overall prospects of the bill because it distracted media attention from…the mandates forcing individuals to buy insurance…Rahm…told anyone who would listen that a public option wasn’t necessary…Rahm…thought he could satisfy the base by having Obama lash out rhetorically at insurance companies, but it wasn’t enough. Liberals wanted to see the president fighting for them…”

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