Thursday, 10 December 2009

Fetch Me Your Finest Middle-Man!

This is probably my favourite American politics story so far this month, just for the sheer mind-spinning lunacy of it. Essentially, the American government can't interfere (or at any rate not meaningfully) if drugs companies massively over-price their product. However, other countries, most notably in this case Canada, can; by essentially refusing to buy the drugs unless they get a discount.

Thus, whilst every true 'Murican knows that Canada's health care system is a dystopian Socialist wilderness where you have to queue for days just to see the death panel responsible for murdering your grand mother, one unquestionable benefit with their system is that drugs are much cheaper once you get north of Michigan.

So now that the Senate has the chance to do something about it by adding an amendment to the healthcare bill, what do you think they're proposing? Finally allowing the federal government to explicitly prevent drug companies from ripping off the sick, elderly and dying?

Nope. They want to buy their own drugs back off Canada.

Drum calls this push hypocritical. I'm not sure. It's almost certainly cowardly (as Drum also notes); the government isn't willing to take the drug companies on directly so they want the Canadians to do it for them (much like the reduction of prisoners in Guantanamo turned out to be contingent on other countries taking those damn dirty Muslims off of the US's hands, because the States is just that tough), but to be honest if this is the only way the current Senate can see its way to making drugs cheaper, then maybe it's better than nothing.

So maybe the individuals aren't being hypocritical (though I suspect some most certainly are). As a complete package, though, it's more than a little ridiculous.

Also: we can add "dystopian" to the list of words Blogspot doesn't recognise. Lame!

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