Bachmann votes against capitalism and the free market
One of the reasons Wal-Mart is able to offer goods to consumers at such low prices is their monumental market power. Because of their sheer size, they are able to negotiate deals with their suppliers to buy products at lower prices, and their suppliers are all too eager to agree because it means that they will have the world's largest company as a customer, buying huge amounts of their product. The deal is advantageous for both companies, and for consumers, who reap the benefit of lower prices.
I don't think there is a single person who would disagree that Wal-Mart has the right to negotiate prices with its suppliers, and to use its market power to bring down prices, as long as it does not break any anti-trust laws in the process and an equal playing field is assured for all. This is the way capitalism is designed to work.
Apparently, Michele Bachmann doesn't believe in capitalism, despite her constant invocations of the "free market" on the campaign trail. She was one of 170 Republicans to vote against allowing Medicare, the government program that is the Wal-Mart of health care, to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
The Mankato Free Press weighs in on Bachmann's vote in an editorial today, saying she and her friend John Kline "voted against the free market solution to a price-gouging problem." They explain the reason that the law change is needed:
U.S. drug companies have for too long been on a diet filled with government fat. Their appetite for government desserts has swelled their underbelly. It’s time to medicate these drug makers with the remedy of the free market. [...]
If you buy in large volumes, you should be able to negotiate a lower price per unit with the seller. The seller sees this as a good deal too. They can make as much profit, if they sell more units, even if the profit margin per unit is somewhat lower.
But up until now, the drug companies have been protected from having to negotiate. It’s been illegal for the government to ask for a deal. Drug makers have been able to sell more at the same very high profit level. Taxpayers have paid an estimated $30 billion cost for the Medicare prescription drug program in 2006 alone.
Rep. John Dingell, D, Mich., thinks taxpayers can save money if the government is allowed to negotiate. He and other supporters, including 24 Republicans in the recent vote, point to the Veterans Administration, which is allowed to negotiate prices. A study finds the VA is able to buy prescription drugs lower than others because of this negotiating power. In one case the VA was able to get one drug for a 58 percent lower price than negotiated by private plans. [...]
This proposal is a far cry from the heavy hand of government interfering in the free market. In fact, it is a free market solution Adam Smith, the father of free market theory, would be proud of.
When you have 43 million people buying prescription drugs regularly, you should be able to negotiate some kind of a discount.
Michele Bachmann's friend, President Bush, has pledged to veto this legislation. What are these Republicans thinking? There is no way that this is anything other than crony capitalism at its worst. Unless I am missing something here, Bachmann, Kline, Bush, and all others who opposed this bill ought to be ashamed.
I will call Michele's office on Tuesday to see if she gives a reason for her "nay" vote. Again, her number is (202) 225-2331. Put it in your cell phone!