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  Pfizer Big Winner in Health Care Fight
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CORPORATE-FASCISM WINS – CITIZENS DON'T HAVE INFLUENCE:

Pfizer Big Winner in Health Care Fight

by James Ridgeway
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation yesterday, 6 October 2009

These deals will assure America continues to spend twice as much per capita compared to less corporate-friendly countries with better rated national health care systems.

Bloomberg has a run down on winners and losers to date in the health reform fight. Pfizer comes out in front.

Winners so far:

DRUGMAKERS: New York-based Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies overcame attempts to torpedo a deal they made with Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Obama that limits their contribution to the overhaul to $80 billion over 10 years. Baucus joined with all the panel’s Republicans and Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Thomas Carper of Delaware to uphold the agreement with the drug companies. London-based AstraZeneca Plc has its U.S. headquarters in Delaware, while Menendez represents Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck & Co., among other companies. ... “If you look at drug spending over the next 10 years, it will be something like $4 trillion,” said Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton University economist who specializes in health care. “Well, $80 billion out of $4 trillion; what a bargain.”

LABORATORIES: Quest Diagnostics Inc., Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings and Celera Corp. escaped $700 million in annual industry fees proposed by Baucus. Before the committee began work, the Montana Democrat shifted that assessment to health insurers, bringing the total fees to $6.7 billion for an industry led by Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Indianapolis-based WellPoint. Madison, New Jersey-based Quest, Burlington, North Carolina-based LabCorp and Alameda, California-based Celera would also benefit from provisions in all of the committees that encourage greater use of disease screening. And increased preventive care may boost providers as a whole. ...

HOSPITALS: Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tennessee, Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Inc. and hospitals across the nation may end up winners after a deal in which they pledged $155 billion in cost savings largely survived. As part of that agreement, payments for taking care of charity cases would be reduced only if certain insurance- coverage levels are met, insulating hospitals, said Paul Heldman, senior health-policy analyst at the Potomac Research Group in Washington.


Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.

Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.

Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found on his web site, http://jamesridgeway.net.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on October 7, 2009.
 



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