West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin says he will oppose a gimmick-filled social welfare bill that hides trillions in spending behind the pretense that the new entitlement programs would be “temporary.” And on Wednesday, Manchin said Congress should cool its heels and wait until next year lest the spending further fuel inflation that is now growing faster than it has in 30 years.
Manchin faces hurricane-force winds from all directions to give in to vote for the bill when it reaches the Senate.
My Consensus Group colleagues have a great deal to say about the significant damage that would ensue if the bill were to pass and why Manchin should hold the line.
Nina Schaefer of Heritage writes: “Despite claims that negotiations among Democrats are leading to a smaller and less radical proposal, the latest version of the ‘Build Back Better’ tax-and-spend bill still represents a massive government expansion in health care.”
In an article for The Daily Signal, “With So-Called Build Back Better Bill, Socialist Health Care Agenda Is Closer Than You Think,” her analysis shows that “almost all of the original health care provisions in the $3.5 trillion package remain in place and a full-blown government takeover remains in sight.”
Specifically, she writes, the supposedly pared-down bill:
- still expands government subsidies to Obamacare exchange plans and the rich
- undercuts private, employer-based coverage
- undermines non-Obamacare options
- expands the size and scope of an overextended Medicaid program
- puts new obligations on an outdated Medicare program.
Ed Haismaier, also of Heritage, focuses on the damage the bill would do to access to drug treatments today and in the future.
The drug provisions are important to Democrats because the section is a big revenue generator. By imposing draconian price controls on prescription drugs (with a 95% penalty tax if drug companies don’t comply), Washington expects to save billions on spending for drugs in Medicare.
The prescription drug provisions in the bill would especially harm seniors. Seniors expecting to see lower drug prices at the pharmacy will find that the federal government is soaking up most of the “savings” to spend on its new entitlement programs. And seniors will pay the price with fewer new drugs available.
In “Democrats’ Bill Shows How Not to Get Affordable, Innovative Prescription Drugs,” Haislmaier explains that the government would begin by fixing prices for a limited number of drugs that account for substantial spending in Medicare but explains this is just a ploy to set up the infrastructure for limitless price fixing in the future.
Haislmaier says these policies:
- would hurt access to drugs and innovation
- undermine the ability of private plans to negotiate further price discounts for enrollees
- discourage future generic drugs—which often cost less—from coming to market
- cripple the innovative biologic
- reduce incentives for development of less-expensive biosimilars
The legislative language gives away the game in explaining that the government would set its own “ceiling” price of what it would pay for drugs. If companies don’t agree to sell at that price, they could face confiscatory fines. So much for trying to “negotiate” with the government.
So once again, Washington is looking to Medicare as a piggy bank to pay for its new spending blowout. Seniors will pay the price in access to fewer drugs and all of us will pay the price with drugs that are never invented or developed in the future.
Chris Holt of the American Action Forum writes that, “Despite the framing of these change as compromises, in many cases they have exacerbated the problems of past proposals.”
In “The build back better act’s terrible, no good, very bad drug policies,” he writes “the drug policy additions that collectively risk seriously undermining pharmaceutical innovation, patient access to therapies, and ironically, the private market’s access to lower-cost generic drugs.”
This bill will have generational-impact and is being slapped together without a single congressional hearing to learn of the impact of these policies.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill next week. If Manchin were to cave and it were to pass the Senate and be signed into law, we may all look back and say that was the tipping point in America.
People who are paid more to stay at home than to work still are on the sidelines while small businesses, especially, plead for workers to help them keep their doors open to serve customers. This bill will make it much, much worse. And the reckless, damn-the-consequences taxes to pay for the massive entitlement spending all threaten the vibrancy of our economy.
That is why this is so important. As strong as America and the American economy are, at some point the burden of taxes and regulation and inflation and suffocating regulations and mandates will stifle this miracle, with young people and children and grandchildren seeing little alternative than the public dole. This is the hill to fight on.