President Trump promised in 2016 that he would do great things to lower drug prices for senior citizens and all Americans. He promised “on day one,” yadda yadda, my welfare state (for my cult followers, anyway, wink wink) is going to be the greatest welfare state. Cheaper stuff for everybody wearing a MAGA hat and making the secret handshake. Sorry, suckers, and in fact everybody on Medicare, whether we supported Trump or not. Drug company stocks, including Novartis, went down briefly today before the Rose Garden drug price speech, and then, ta-da, up they went during and after the speech. And why wouldn’t drug stocks go up, because Trump did not do the one thing that would most likely push drug prices down, which is to let CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) negotiate prices with drug companies. CMS isn’t the only buyer of drugs, but they are so huge that they could be the market leader, the quasi-monopsony buyer with power to get prices down across the board. The current law, signed by George W. Bush, provided a benefit to senior citizens, but at an unnecessarily high cost. I would like to be surprised, but I do not see much yet in what HHS Secretary Azar or Trump said that would actually push drug prices down. Regulatory capture–aka the Swamp–is alive and well in Trump’s Washington.
Didn’t you promise you were going to help us make it through the night, Mr. President Trump?
“I am going to take care of everybody.”
“There will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”
“Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
I don’t care who’s right or wrong, Mr. Trump. You could even copy Huckabee and put a squirrel in your White House microwave and if you liked it a lot I would not judge you for that. But keep your promises. Or at least try. Don’t complain about how complicated healthcare is. That’s a precious snowflake excuse. And don’t listen to Paul Ryan. He’s a zombie moocher who lived off Social Security for two years after his daddy died when Paul was just sixteen. He is probably still ashamed of it. Don’t mind him, and for heaven’s sake don’t think he’s a “policy wonk.” He doesn’t even understand insurance at all if he doesn’t realize it’s about healthy people paying for sick ones. Because even you, Mr. Trump, are going to get old and sick and dependent and vulnerable. So let the devil take tomorrow, Mr. Trump.
P.S. So glad your man on health care, Dr. Tom Price, said yesterday “no one will be worse off financially” when Trumpcare kicks in. I am making a note of how much I paid in premiums in 2016 and putting it in a safe place, and you can be sure that I will not pay any more while you are president, sir. And I know you won’t put me in debtors’ prison. Plus I can keep thinking what I’m thinking and drinking what I’m drinking–no more no less so I won’t be any worse off. Feeling pretty good now. Would hate to see you mess up my good feeling.
It is early days in Donald J. Trump’s new swamp-draining reality adventure. Let’s chill just a little bit and give him enough running room–I mean rope–and see what happens. I think the best protesting is likely to happen if and when Trump starts pissing people off. And in fairness to Trump or any president (missing you already, Obama, despite your mandarin tendencies) there are not too many easy win-win decisions that a president gets to make. If Trump increases the swamp gas fumes by hiring the oiliest of the lobbyist crowd, and shafts the “forgotten men and women,” the disgruntled “Carrier voters” of the rust belt who put him over the top, then the opportunity for successful protest will ripen. If Trump follows Paul Ryan’s lead and proposes privatizing Medicare and cutting off Trumpcare health exchange subsidies, solidarity against Republicans will be a much easier lift than if people disrupt highway traffic now and piss off ordinary people. Trump and the Republicans are about to take control of all three branches, and they will own the economy. They will either own the Affordable Care Act, or try to displace and dismember it. The hard choices are theirs, let them stew over it.