Support for Ramesh’s point earlier. E-mail:
What the Democrats seem to be doing is actually pretty smart, though irresponsible. If what they propose actually becomes law (not likely, but possible), it appears that they are going to set up Leavitt, giving him the “power” to negotiate and requiring him to report on his “success.” Meanwhile, they will monitor prices, find some that are higher than the VAs, and continue to blast the Administration for failing to use its power.
This way, the Democrats carry no responsibility for setting up the program if they really intended to deliver on their promise. That program would likely have had a higher premium and its formulary, or drug list, would have been less broad than the private plans now handling the benefit. Instead, they can have the rhetocial platform to stand on, criticizing Leavitt and the Administration for “failing to bring down drug prices.” Actually, they can probably keep doing this even if what they propose never becomes law.