New report blasts how Prescription Drug plan was formed by Mitch E. Perry05/08/06
Secretary LeavittÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s appearance in Tampa comes on the same day that a new report blasts how the Prescription Drug Plan came together when passed by Congress in late 2003.
The report focuses on former Louisiana Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin, and is called, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Case Study in Corruption: How Industry Money and Personal Interest Shaped Part DÃ¢â‚¬?. It was written by the Institute for AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Future, and Americans United.
Tauzin left Congress to become the CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PHARMA. He joined that corporation shortly after helping shepherding the Prescription drug plan into law. Brad Woodhouse is from the group Americans United (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?as the nose on your faceÃ¢â‚¬?)
The report says that drug companies spent $239 million dollars on direct lobbying in 2003 and 2004, the key years when they were lobbying Congress regarding the passage of the Drug Plan.
And it says that Congressman Tauzin, then the Chair of the House Committee on Medicare, personally received over $218,000 from the drug companies in campaign money since 1989.
Officials with the advocacy groups hosting the conference call acknowledge that none of the information in their report breaks any news. Instead, they say, media reports as the Medicare deal passed thru Congress were not scrutinized as intently as they should have been, and say as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcrunch timeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ begins for seniors and others to sign up for the plan before the deadline expires in 2 weeks, now is the time to put on a full court press. Brad WoodHouse from Americans United says the facts about Congressman Tauzin are already well known (roll tape#2 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what isÃ¢â‚¬?)
Roger Hickey is with the Institute for AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Future. He is calling for an investigation into how the legislation ever occurred. He also called out Thomas Scully, who was the administrator of the center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies. While working on the bill, Scully is said to have deceived Congress about the size of the billÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ The Republican Congress had said they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want the legislation to cost more than $400 billion dollars over 10 yearsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦So Scully said it would cost $395 billion. Later, MedicareÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chief actuary, Richard Foster, revised estimates that showed the plan would cost $534 billion over 10 years. Scully left the government immediately after the bill passed to go back to work for the private sector (roll tape#3 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬? incredibly corruptÃ¢â‚¬?)
Arkansas Democratic Congressman Marion Berry said what he and many other Democrats want to do to fix Medicare Part D is quite simple (roll tape#4 oq.Ã¢â‚¬?just by negotiating pricesÃ¢â‚¬?)
Democrats like Berry are still bitter how the vote went down in the House back in November of 2003.. When it appeared that the Republicans were short the votes needed to pass the bill, the GOP led Congress delayed the roll call vote until 5:33 in the morning, the longest roll call in Congressional History.
And then during the subsequent conference between members of the Senate and House to reconcile the bills, Congressman Berry says he was literally locked out of being involved in those negotations (roll tape#5 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?to solve this problemÃ¢â‚¬?)
To read the report on Billy Tauzin , you can go to the web to Ourfuture.org