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Soros and Drug Companies to Help Sell Health Care Reform

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer In an effort to counter the growing opposition to Congress’ proposed health care reform, the U.S. drug industry has authorized its lobbyists to invest as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting the plan. Billionarie George Soros is also reputed to have promised $5 million toward promotion of the overhaul. According to a report by The New York Times, drug industry lobbyists will begin their television campaign over the August Congressional recess. The Obama Administration apparently struck a deal with U.S. drug manufacturers in June to secure their support for health care reform. The terms of the deal were not fully disclosed but include an $80 billion contribution over 10 years toward the cost of the health care overhaul.       Top officials of the drug industry’s trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, are scheduled to meet next week to finalize its plans. Ken Johnson, a spokesman for PhRMA, declined to discuss the specific sums. “Our board has agreed to make a significant investment in support of comprehensive reform,” he told the Times. “Our August plan is pretty much in place, but we have not finalized all the details of the fall campaign.” He said it would include grassroots outreach as well. The drug industry has already contributed millions of dollars to advertising campaigns promoting health care reform through advocacy groups such as Healthy Economies Now and Families USA. It has spent about $1 million on similar advertisements under its own name. Greg Sargent of The Plum Line blog is reporting that billionaire George Soros has also pledged to sink $5 million into the fight. The group receiving the money, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), confirmed the contribution. HCAN is the leading coalition of pro-reform groups, unions and providers. “HCAN is pleased to be supported by people and organizations who support our campaign to win quality, affordable health care for all,” said HCAN chief Richard Kirsch in an e-mail. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

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