As a political expedient designed to give George W. Bush a second term in the White House, Karl Rove convinced, cajoled, and browbeat congressional Republicans into creating Medicare Part D, the program’s new prescription drug benefit and the largest expansion of the entitlement state since the creation of Medicare itself. One of the Bush administration’s selling points was that creating a prescription drug benefit in Medicare would allow the GOP to steal the health-care issue from Democrats. Instead, Republicans may have done little more than slit their own throats.
An article in Politico.com (“Big pharma veers to the left”) discusses how Part D has delivered the pharmaceutical industry – long a supporter of Republican congressional candidates – into the hands of Democrats:
The growth of state and federal health care programs — including President Bush’s prescription drug plan for seniors — means that today about half of the pharmaceutical market is controlled by government.
That got the industry rethinking about how to position itself politically. And the future seems to be in ensuring that the government programs remain robust and generous.
Whereas big-pharma political giving used to run 3-1 in favor of Republicans, it is now running even between the two political parties.
Isn’t the whole point of selling out your principles that you’re supposed to get something in return?