* MAY 1, 2010
Big Pharma Loves Harry Reid
The Democratic Party's new subsidiary.
* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is down in the polls and fighting for re-election, so he's lucky to have a wealthy, new benefactor in his corner. The unions? The greens? Try the drug industry.
A new TV ad is up in Mr. Reid's home state praising the Democrat for creating
"good Nevada jobs," expanding "clean energy" and providing "tax credits for
small business." Moreover, "thanks to Harry Reid's leadership, if you change or
lose your job, you can keep your health care coverage." The ad encourages
viewers to call Mr. Reid's office, where no doubt they will be routed to his
donation line. All this is courtesy of the
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in league with the liberal
health-advocacy group Families USA.
If it seems odd that drug makers are working to re-elect the Senator who
passed legislation to rule the health-care industry, welcome to post-ObamaCare
politics. Big Pharma and health insurance
companies are betting on short-term rent-seeking from legislation that
subsidizes Americans to use more of their products—so the ad is partly a thank
you to Democrats for new customers. But it's also political
protection. With their business model in the hands of
government, the drug makers have to make sure the government doesn't squeeze
them in the bottom line.
The new ad follows news that America's Health
Insurance Plans, the insurance trade group, has also teamed up with Families USA
to promote ObamaCare. Thus do sweeping government programs produce their own
special-interest advocates. Lost in this palm-greasing are the customers who
ultimately will pay for ObamaCare in higher prices and politically rationed
medical care. Another
reminder, if one more were needed, that powerful government serves the