Sunday, April 01, 2007

Burton Featured In 60 Minutes' Big Pharma Segment

It may not make up for the string of bad publicity U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) has been receiving over the past few months, but it's hard to dismiss the benefit Burton got from the prominent, positive exposure he received in CBS News' 60 Minutes segment tonight on the role Pharma played in screwing U.S. taxpayers during the passage of the Medicare prescription drug legislation. And this time Burton played the role of the good guy battling the pharmaceutical industry, which practically bought off the House Republicans in Congress to get a prescription drug bill it wanted. In the end, the new law prohibits the government from negotiating drug prices for the Medicare program, even though it's the single largest purchaser of prescription drugs. That provision raised objections from several Republican members, including Burton.

Steve Kroft's story focused on the night of the legislation's passage, when House Republicans held open the vote for more than 3 hours while the arms of Republican holdouts were being twisted. Rep. Burton, who Kroft incorrectly identified as a congressman from Illinois, and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) were two holdouts Kroft interviewed. Jones called it the "ugliest night" he had ever seen in politics. The bad guy was former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), the House Republican manager of the legislation who left Congress a short time after the legislation was signed into law by President Bush to accept a $2 million a year job as president of Pharma.

Kroft's story pointed out that proponents claimed the legislation would only cost $395 billion over the first 10 years. In actuality, the program will cost well over $500 billion during the first 10 years. Medicare drug prices under the program are fully 60% higher than the prices the VA negotiated for prescription drugs for veterans. The man in charge of the the government's Medicare program, Tom Scully, was negotiating a job with a major law firm representing the pharmaceutical industry at the same time he spear-headed the administration's legislative push for the legislation. Kroft also identified about six legislative staffers who worked on the legislation who later left their jobs to accept positions with the pharmaceutical industry.

It will be interesting to watch what Pharma does in Rep. Burton's re-election race where he is already facing a strong primary challenge from former Marion Co. Coroner John McGoff. McGoff, who is an emergency room physician, already has a relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pharma and the pharmaceutical industry dumping a lot of money to defeat Burton, who has been a thorn in their side before on the issue of whether certain vaccines cause autism in young children. From a public perception standpoint, however, I think Burton wins this debate hands down.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw it too. I hate to admit it but you're right.

So Burton wins one out of 200 in 20 years in COngress. Whoppee-doo.

He's still a letch and a miserable Congressman.

The Scribe said...

Oop's, try doing a little fact-checking Gary before jumping on the bandwagon.

As I point out here, you were way too quick on repeating Kroft's arguements verbatim instead of doing some checking on your own.

Perhaps you should stop spending so much time attacking christians and a little more being skeptical of CBS News (it's not as if they don't have a history of slanted pieces).

Wilson46201 said...

Truly respectful people who are not mere pompous political hacks know that "Christian" is a word that is properly capitalized in contemporary writing.

By the way, blogwhoring is so tacky...

The Scribe said...

"pompous political hacks"

Hey pot, the phone is ringing. I think it may be kettle calling.

Tacky is the very definition of roaming the blogosphere and posting asinine and incoherent rants on other blogs without having the cojones of writing your own.

Wilson, you are far better at telling Julia what wigs to wear than you are at posting.

Wilson46201 said...

What Christian love and charity "The Scribe" demonstrates above...

In the spirit of this week: Forgive him for he knows not what he does!

The Scribe said...

Funny Wilson, you're a typical Democrat regarding your "skill" at obfuscating the facts by engaging in personal attacks instead of responding to the issue at hand.

Advance Indiana said...

The Scribe raises "fact-checking". CBS may be biased, but the facts align with Kroft's version of events far more than your feable defense of the self-dealing going on by members of Congress and staff with the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of the American taxpayers. What he reports is nothing new. Various other news publications have given varying accounts of the same basic set of facts. That legislation alone symbolized to me why the GOP had to go. They totally abandoned the principles upon which they were given a majority in 1994. As a life-long Republican, I wouldn't think of wasting any time trying to rationalize their actions on that legislation. It would be nice if, instead of hiding in anononymity, you identified who you are so we can know whether you may have a bit of self-interest in defending that legislation. You say on your blog you've been to Dan Burton's office many times, and you used to be friends with one of his senior staffers. I think you need to come clean on who you are, Scribe.

The Scribe said...

For the record, Dan Burton is a miserable excuse for a Congressman, husband and father (to the kids he even knows about). I would like nothing more than for McGoff to embarrass him in the primary, but reality tells me that won't happen. Incumbents are too powerfull, just ask Wilson.

Secondly, the MediCare (is that supposed to be capitalised Wilson?) Part D expansion is perhaps the biggest boondogle to come down the pike in 40 years, and an embarrasment to the Republican Party, a party I refuse to join or support. If for no other reason, it was enough for the Dems to kick them out of the House and Senate.

Thirdly, when you've been around the scene as long as I have, and worked for and with as many people as I have, you're bound to have friends in a variety of places. The fact that I'm on a first name basis with many current and former Burton staffers has nothing to do with my pointing out your ignoring the facts in supporting Kroft's hit piece. You try to point out that CMS pays a higher rate than the VA, but that isn't the entire story, just one peddled by a far-left interest group with a huge axe to grind. You had to know that, but in your rush to write something overlooked it. It's clear you spend far more time concerned with which Senator's wife ALLEGEDLY had an abortion and how much Eric Miller get's paid than you do reading studies published by respected groups that shoot down your feeble argument.

I make no effort to defend that embarrasment of a law, but it's rather convenient of you to try to paint me with that brush.

Fourthly, nobody cares who I am (including you, in all likelyhood)and I prefer to protect my identity for the time being. I feel it frees me up to say whatever I want to say, regardless of friendships (don't assume we don't know each other) or otherwise. I don't bow to any party agenda or issue, and have even written things that haven't painted people I'd consider a friend in the best light. Nor do I care about being famous or popular.

If it's good enough for one of the best blgos around, IndyUndercover, it's certainly good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

burton has his own blog. you guys should look it over. www.house.gov/burton