Pluralistic: 11 Aug 2022

Today's links

A cigar-chomping plutocrat in a tuxedo and tophat is wielding a marionette; he is wearing a domino mask; the marionette's head is a television; the television is displaying a framegrab from the American Prosperity Alliance's deceptive ad, falsely claiming that $300b will be cut from Medicare, superimposed over the heads of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. There is a purple 'supernova' flare effect behind the television. The figure is posed against a background of white pills.

A dark money group is lying about Medicare cuts (permalink)

The "American Prosperity Alliance" does not exist, except as an anonymously controlled bank account that has paid for the production and dissemination of a slick ad that spreads the falsehood that the Democrats have cut $300b from Medicare:

Let me repeat: this is a lie. What "American Prosperity Alliance" is talking about here is a provision in the bill that allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices, rather than simply paying whatever Big Pharma wants to charge. This practice is why Americans pay more for their drugs than, say, Canadians:

To be clear: the new bill will curb the eye-watering public price-gouging that Big Pharma enjoys, and halt the transfer of $300b in public money to pharma companies' shareholders, by allowing Medicare to bargain to get prices similar to those paid by other governments in countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK.

There is no universe in which this a $300b cut to Medicare. It's like the Dems have pledged to halt $300b in fraud and the American Prosperity Alliance went to the country's elderly and sick and screamed: "They're cutting your benefits!" In fact, it's not like that – it is that.

Who the fuck are the American Prosperity Alliance? No one knows. They're a dark money group. Their website consists of a link to their deceptive ad, a form to sign up for their mailing list…and nothing else.

As Lou Jacobson writes for Politifact/Kaiser Health News, this is just the latest version of a torrent of dark money disinformation that makes this claim.

For example, the West Virginia TV ad from the Center for Innovation and Free Enterprise (CIFE) in which an elderly woman was literally condemned to die by her doctor, who explained that it was all because the Democrats were going to negotiate drug prices:

(CIFE claims to be for "free markets," which, apparently, is a system whereby a cartel of multinationals who rely on government-issued monopolies – AKA 'patents' – gets to demand literally any sum from the federal government and is assured of receiving it.)

As @Robillard and @CitizenCohn wrote for @HuffPost, similar claims came from "America Next," @AmerComm and "The 60-Plus Association" (which is like a far-right prepper version of the AARP). All of them have historically taken money from @Phrma, the lobby group for Big Pharma.

The disinformation would be laughable if it wasn't so depraved. Telling old people that giving Medicare an extra $300b to spend on patients is a $300b cut to care is straight-up lying – and thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the dark money cowards funding the American Prosperity Alliance get to lurk in the shadows. If they're so committed to "American Prosperity," why do they need to disguise their identities? Is it that they are planning a big reveal later that we'll all be delighted by and they just don't want to spoil the surprise?

The irony here is that the Medicare spending curbs in the Inflation Reduction Act are incredibly weaksauce, barely denting pharma's profiteering. As @ThomasNeuburger writes, this only kicks in as of 2026, and it only affects ten drugs.

Neuburger is citing a summary from @thehill, which adds that this provision only applies to drugs that are have been around for at least nine years (13 years for biologics):

The number of affected drugs climbs to 20 after another five years. That means that, starting in a decade, Medicare will be able to negotiate prices on 20 drugs – out of 20,000. This plan won't bring down the prices of the most notoriously jacked-up medicine, including #insulin, #Eliquis, and #Humira, a drug that was repeatedly re-patented through useless "formulation changes" that were designed by @McKinsey, who developed a program that gave away Iphones to @abbvie scientists who came up with useless molecular changes as part of a perpetual patent scheme:

In other words, Big Pharma has given up almost nothing in this bill, and they are still running around, lying their heads off like they had just been nationalized by Party Secretary Biden and had all their top scientists sent north to work on re-education farms.

(Image: Grumpy Puddin, CC BY 2.0)

Hey look at this (permalink)

This day in history (permalink)

#10yrsago Beck’s new album is sheet-music only

#10yrsago WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty is back: a treaty to end the public domain, fair use and Creative Commons

#10yrsago Pussy Riot’s closing statement

#5yrsago Ajit Pai just stacked the FCC’s advisory panel with dingo babysitters from big telcoms

#5yrsago 20 year old advice on helping people with computers is still relevant today

#5yrsago 7 years later, Sun Microsystems cofounder Vinod Khosla loses bid to privatize public beach

#5yrsago Wells Fargo also gouged small businesses on credit-card fees

#1yrago IRS leaks reveal billions reaped through ultra-wealthy lobbying on the tax bill

#1yrago Canada's got the world's worst internet ideas

Colophon (permalink)

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