Hillary's "new" attack on pharmaceutical companies is a sop to the insurance industry

Hillary Clinton is unveiling the next new plank in her policy proposals, this time focusing on expanding and improving Obamacare. But rather than talking about access to insurance, being able to keep your doctor or premiums in general, the former First Lady is going after the pharmaceutical industry. There’s no doubt that drug prices have been rising alarmingly (along with all other health care costs since Obamacare was passed… ahem) but it’s one segment of a much larger picture. Still, Hillary seems to have found a demon to fight which promises to attract a populist crowd, so away we go. (The Guardian)

With Americans paying among the highest costs for prescription drugs in the world, Hillary Clinton will take on major pharmaceutical companies under a new plan to tackle the rising costs of prescription drugs…

Clinton is proposing a series of policy changes to make prescription drugs more affordable for Americans by capping monthly costs not covered by insurance for patients with serious or chronic health conditions while targeting big pharmaceutical companies in an effort to drive down costs.

The former secretary of state is due to officially outline the plan during a campaign stop in Iowa on Tuesday, as part of a series of events focused on Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which she regularly defends and has vowed to build upon.

This is pretty much a retread of one of her proposals from her losing 2008 presidential run (and a modification of some aspects of the original HillaryCare from the early 90s) but with some new bells and whistles tacked on. Unfortunately for consumers she’s learned nothing from the lessons of the past and her “solution” does nothing to address the cost of bringing drugs to market and distributing them. Rather, it seeks to wave the magic government wand and simply mandate that the prices become lower.

This does work out to be a pretty good deal for one specific group of people and that would be the health insurance companies. They saw a massive windfall from the passage of Obamacare, but if they have to deal with continually rising costs for prescriptions when the market for what they can charge the customers is capped, that’s a bad thing. So why should Hillary care about that? Check out the list of insurance companies which have been donating to the Clinton Foundation. Blue Cross / Blue Shield, United and Humana are into them in the range of millions. Centene Group chalked up donations in the one quarter to one half million range. Kaiser is in for tens of thousands. The list goes on extensively from there. How much influence do you suppose that sort of money buys?

But as I mentioned earlier, none of Clinton’s proposed “fixes” which deal with going after the pharmaceutical firms do anything to address the very real issue of rising health care costs and insurance premiums across the board. AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) weighed in on the subject this week, pointing out that any real solution needs to focus on open markets and competition, not government mandates.

“Consumers are looking to policymakers and leaders of both parties to advance meaningful solutions to these cost challenges. Yet recent proposals that would impose arbitrary caps on insurance coverage or force government negotiation on prescription drug prices will only add to the cost pressures facing individuals and families across the country. These provisions will not make drug prices more affordable. We strongly believe that greater transparency around drug pricing and more competition in the market are critical to support sustainable, private-sector solutions that deliver the best value for patients and the health system. We are committed to working with all policymakers to achieve those goals.”

Clinton’s latest populist plan to eat the rich is, under the covers, nothing more than a rehash of the same thing she’s been peddling for years. It’s also a continuation of and expansion upon the failures of Obamacare which are driving up our premiums and knocking people away from the doctors and plans they like. It’s just more of the same with a new villain to blame and the same big government “fix” to solve it.