This stuff never changes.
As we wait to see the outcome of the sequester mini-drama, let’s return for a moment to the last playlet -- the fiscal cliff.
So there we were….hanging over the edge of the fiscal cliff like another chapter in the Perils of Pauline. At the last second, disaster was avoided.
Unless…unless…you were a) the New York Times, b) Bill Moyers, c) former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, or d) any liberal looking for the joys of hysteria and phony outrage. (Actually, the latter includes most liberals, but I digress.)
So if you recall the tale, shortly after the fiscal cliff drama came and went, out came the Times with a hot front page story that the pharmaceutical giant Amgen had, those dastardly dogs, canoodled a costly benefit into the fiscal cliff legislation. Hyperventilated the Times:
Senators who play a major role in federal health care financing were happy to help Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, evade Medicare cost-cutting controls by delaying price restraints on a class of drugs used by kidney dialysis patients, including Sensipar, a drug made by Amgen. That provision was inserted into the final fiscal bill by Senate aides. Many members of Congress did not know it was in the bill until just hours before it was approved.”
Or eeeeek! -- as the case may be.
Now comes word that, well, um, ah, gee, oops -- the Times got it wrong.
Over at Forbes, Grace Marie Turner has a sharp piece detailing that
The New York Times published a reckless story in January that said the deal “gave Amgen an additional two years to sell Sensipar without government controls” and that it reaped a windfall. The Times omitted the fact that the provision was designed to protect Medicare’s seniors who live in rural areas, that other companies market oral drugs which treat dialysis patients and are affected by this policy, and it failed to cite the source of the $500 million cost it attributed to this provision.
In fact, a new CBO analysis found that this policy proposal will actually save the Medicare program over time. According to CBO, a three year delay would save $500 million and a four year delay could save more than a billion dollars for taxpayers because of the competitive pricing of the oral drugs in Part D.
Instead of being credited with saving the taxpayer money and addressing the concerns exposed by the GAO, the New York Times chose to spin a story based on politics rather than sound, fact-based reporting. The Times called it “a disheartening example of how intense lobbying and financial contributions can distort the legislative process in Washington.” But in fact, the legislators were trying to protect patients and taxpayers.
In other words?
Yet again, liberals -- who are busy rapidly expanding everything about government as fast as they can -- yet again manifested hysterical outrage when a private sector company was forced to deal with the results.
Then, not to be too blunt here, said liberals deliberately misrepresented (spun, made up, fabricated, lied -- your call) what Amgen did as costing said government program (Medicare in this case) some $500 million. When in fact -- catch that word “fact” -- again in Turner’s words:
… a new CBO analysis found that this policy proposal will actually save the Medicare program over time. According to CBO, a three year delay would save $500 million and a four year delay could save more than a billion dollars for taxpayers because of the competitive pricing of the oral drugs in Part D.
So there was no cost. There was a save.
To the tune of $500 million and potentially “more than a billion dollars for taxpayers.”
Worse, in the mix of this was the charge that Utah’s Senator Orin Hatch and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell -- and even Democrat Max Baucus -- did this dastardly deed because they have received campaign contributions from Amgen.
Why is this important to note?
In theory, Amgen is a Big Guy well able to take care of itself. Ditto the senators.
In fact, in the larger scheme of this all-government-all-the-time world, this is a company that was targeted by the liberal “paper of record”, and Messrs. Moyers and Feingold with a phony story that completely misrepresented the facts of the case. All to play politics. The politics of hysteria and outrage. With the three senators added to spice up the story.
Will there be a retraction from the Times?
Will Moyers and Feingold repent publicly?
Will US PIRG apologize and stop using Amgen as their goat? They a liberal group who are not only pushing the Amgen fairy tale but trying to generate all kinds of PR by urging their enthusiasts to lobby, falsely, it turns out -- members of Congress. Can a fundraising letter be far behind?
Frogs will become princes before apologies happen. Why?
Because this is the way Washington works. It is a small but classic example of induced hysteria used to further a political agenda.
With somebody in the private sector end on the receiving end. And the senators along for the whole mud throwing ride.
This time? This time it was Amgen. And Hatch. And McConnell. And Baucus.
But don’t worry -- tomorrow it will be somebody else.