Inside the yearlong investigation that led to cattle theft charges for the top elected official in Loving County, Texas
The backstory of Judge Skeet Jones' arrest in Loving County, Texas, involves confidential informants and a sting operation involving a microchipped cow, her calf and the black bull.What Jones most likely didn’t realize from his steel perch as he scanned the horizon: He, too, was being watched as part of a cattle-rustling sting operation devised by special rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Senate Democrats are moving forward with a falsely advertised drug pricing plan. Liberals, and even maverick Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), claim their newest plan will help lower drug costs for seniors and even drive down inflation. As always, however, the fine print says something else. In fact, the scheme would be a disaster for the development of life-extending, life-improving medicines and medical devices.
Start with the money. The details show their proposal is more about raiding Medicare than it is about lowering their prescription drug costs. There is a $300 billion cut to the Medicare program, much of which would be immediately spent to extend expiring COVID-era emergency ObamaCare subsidies that went to higher-income earners.
George Conway says reports that Trump will install loyalists in his administration if he wins in 2024 is a cautionary tale: 'It's going to be more corrupt and lawless'
"They want to throw out thousands of civil servants so they could put people who are ultra-MAGA in," Conway said.His political team is even getting ready for a spring reelection announcement, according to the Washington Post.
That might be helpful to insurance companies seeking to sell more ObamaCare policies to a bigger, newly eligible customer base, but it certainly does not help lower seniors’ drug costs.
As for the supposed lower drug costs they claim seniors will benefit from, most of those would not materialize for at least three to five years — providing no immediate relief — until the drug pricing provisions have time to take effect. Even beyond this irresponsible “spend now, save later” approach, seniors could find themselves subject to new access restrictions to certain medicines.
And here’s the kicker: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and studies from the University of Chicago, patients and families will see fewer new cutting-edge treatments come about as private sector research and development investments dry up.
Manufacturers knock drug pricing bill in ad blitz
The National Association of Manufacturers launched a six-figure ad campaign over the weekend opposing Democrats’ proposal to regulate drug prices in their budget reconciliation package. The lobbying group, which represents Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and other top drugmakers, is airing ads arguing that price controls on popular drugs amount to a “hidden tax” that will…The lobbying group, which represents Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and other top drugmakers, is airing ads arguing that price controls on popular drugs amount to a “hidden tax” that will hurt U.S. competitiveness.
It’s also important to look at how Democrats are attempting to define “savings.” First, they would fully eliminate a significant Medicare reform that was approved by the Trump administration but has been purposely delayed by President Biden. Centered on negotiated rebates secured — and often kept — by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the so-called rebate rule would have required big discounts on drugs to go directly to seniors enrolled in Medicare almost immediately.
Video: What's In, And Out, Of Democrats' Inflation-Fighting Package (The Independent)
Furthermore, these discounts would have been applied directly at the point of sale (i.e., local pharmacies, etc.) when individual seniors paid for their prescription medications. However, no new government programs or corporate middlemen would have been needed, so liberal Democrats naturally opposed it. Instead, Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) want a government-run program that identifies or “negotiates” potential savings so that they, not seniors, can collect the discounts and decide how to spend the money. That should not be a comforting prospect for seniors.
Reject Democrats' price control plan for drugs
The mummified "Build Back Better" plan has arisen from the dead. If Democrats have their way, the federal government will set drug prices, and everyone will have less access to cures and future medical innovations. If the Ghost of Build Back Better Past somehow gets enacted into law by Congress, expect to be unable to access innovative treatments. Patients who need treatments that are in the research and development phase won’t be able to access them because there will be little to no dollars invested in innovative treatments.
Next, Democrats have marketed their plan as a simple process by which the federal government will use its power to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. In reality, it is a price-control scheme no matter how it is advertised and will have the same devastating impacts price controls always do: diminished supply of the products in question. Worst, the creation of vital new drugs and treatments would whither. It typically costs $3 billion dollars and 15 years or so of development time to bring a drug to market.
In the Democrats’ plan, government bureaucrats would set a price and tell drug developers to take it or leave it. If they don’t accept Medicare’s offer, they could be subject to as much as a 95 percent excise tax on total sales of a particular medication. That is not negotiation. That is not a counter negotiating tactic, as Democrats suggest. That’s basic economics.
Because of our free market system, the United States is by far the world’s leading developer of new drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to make a return on investments from their discoveries. Without such a system, we would be without a host of the recent breakthrough discoveries for chronic and rare diseases brought forth over the past decade, including our ability to develop vaccines for COVID-19 in record time.
Florida political group defends its ties with Russia after FBI alleges they teamed up with Kremlin agents in a 'brazen' attempt to interfere with US elections
Prosecutors allege Russian national Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov infiltrated US political groups and tried to sow discord in the US electoral process.Biden's son was also a major topic amid chaotic discourse during the first Trump-Biden debate, Trump mentioned his business dealings, including his connections with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings and profiting in China while his father was vice president. Hunter was previously at the center of Trump's Ukraine scandal that launched an impeachment inquiry.
American patients have better access to beneficial drug treatments as a result of our pharmaceutical policies, particularly cutting-edge therapies for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. For example, cancer patients in the U.S. are able to access 96 percent of all cancer medications, while Canadian patients have access to less than 60 percent of them. In many European and other developed nations, breakthrough drugs for cystic fibrosis and other debilitating diseases available for U.S. patients are not made available at all because governments refuse to pay for them.
Although new drugs often can be expensive, due to costly and lengthy development processes, competition in the U.S. continues to drive increased availability of generics, which collectively save patients over $330 billion per year. In fact, about 90 percent of all U.S. prescriptions are for generics, more than in other countries, and they are cheaper here than overseas, about 16 percent less on average. And even more savings on generics are coming about due to innovative enterprises such as Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company that cut out the corporate middlemen to lower prices for generics well below what insurers charge.
The Democrats’ price-setting plan is just as bad now as it was when it was part of President Biden’s failed spending plan and Nancy Pelosi’s failed price control plan before that. It is more a means to raise revenue for liberal politicians than it is an effective way to lower drug costs for seniors. It’s both dishonest in how it is being presented and harmful to the long-term health of Medicare. Liberals in Congress are making a risky bet by siphoning off and spending seniors’ Medicare money first in the unrealistic hope of extorting some savings later. A wise move for vulnerable Democrats would be to fold.
Steve Forbes is chairman and editor -in-chief of Forbes Media. Follow him on Twitter @SteveForbesCEO.
For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.
Controversial Hunter Biden FBI briefing back in spotlight after whistleblower claims .
Two top Senate Republicans want answers on a controversial summer 2020 FBI briefing, as whistleblower disclosures claim the bureau improperly labeled evidence on Hunter Biden “disinformation” around the same time. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray this week asking for more details about an Aug. 2020 briefing on alleged Russian influence efforts that he says were pushed on him and then leaked to the press to hurt his investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.