Why Hillary Clinton is right to take on high prescription drug prices

I just did an impromptu Facebook Live talk about a speech Hillary Clinton just gave, in which she talked about tackling the high price of prescription drugs. (You can watch the broadcast on Facebook, here.)

To Hillary’s credit, she made specific mention of the fact that we pay more in America — significantly more — for the same drugs that are sold in Europe at a much lower price.

I’d written extensively about how US drug companies fleece American consumers by charging us 5 time or more what they charge Europeans for the same drug. But Hillary noted another reason why this is unfair: American taxpayers are subsidizing these drugs companies. We subsidize through tax breaks, and we subsidize it through the FDA. As Hillary notes, our FDA, paid for by American tax dollars, makes sure these drugs are safe, and then the drug companies make money all over the world based on that seal of approval that US taxpayers paid for.

Now, let me walk you through just how badly Americans are fleeced by these drug companies. Let’s look at a few top asthma drugs, and what they go for in France vs. the US. These are prices from a few years back, when I did the comparison from Paris.

Advair — 5.3x more expensive in the US
US: $391
France: $73

Symbicort — 4.5x more expensive in the US
US: $272
France: $60

Asmanex — 7.9x more expensive in the US
US: $197
France: $25

Also obscene is the whopping increase in the price of these drugs in the US over the past 5 years, while at the same time these companies actually dropped the price in Europe.

Advair (GlaxSmithKline)
US: ↑43%
France: ↓13%

Symbicort (AstraZeneca)

So not only have these drug companies overcharged Americans by an obscene amount, and increased the prices of these drugs by an obscene amount, they actually dropped the price significantly in Europe over the past five years.

Why, you might ask are prices so much cheaper in Europe? Because over in Europe, the governments negotiate with Big Pharma to get a lower price. Our government doesn’t — and in fact, the federal government is banned by law from negotiating cheaper drugs prices for Medicare recipients. As the NYT notes, the drug companies get around all of this by simply charging more to Americans to make up the difference for the lesser profit in Europe:

Many other countries control drug prices in some manner, so drug companies have become dependent on increasing prices in the United States to grow.

Economist Steve Kyle did a nice write-up for us a while back, explaining how drug pricing works, and how the drug companies simply charge Americans more to make-up for lower prices in Europe.

One final point: Drugs aren’t cheaper in France because they’re subsidized. No one subsidizes anything. They’re cheaper because the French government simply negotiated a cheaper price. And mind you, that $25 or $73 you may pay in France for a high-end asthma drug isn’t what Frenchmen actually pay. That’s the price without insurance. If you have insurance, and everyone there does, the prices is significantly less.

So, by virtue of our American citizenship, we’re paying a massive drug tax in order to subsidize cheap drugs for Europeans. And most of our politicians are okay with this.

Hillary isn’t. November can’t come quickly enough.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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92 Responses to “Why Hillary Clinton is right to take on high prescription drug prices”

  1. Demosthenes says:

    I prefer the best health care system politically possible, you prefer 100% or nothing.

  2. A friend in Birmingham was to be a hip replacement recipient earlier this year. She waited all day to be admitted based on the schedule given her, to be told that there were no beds and to return a month later.
    This does not speak well of the British system, which I admire and would rather have than my American experience, ten minutes from the Cleveland Clinic main campus.
    Brits and others can’t imagine ’til they’ve been in the US the flurry of medical ads on TV and in print. I saw none in the UK last year, a real treat.

  3. Bill_Perdue says:

    “The GuardianTuesday 17 June 2014 15.27 EDT – Study by Washington-based foundation says healthcare provision in the US is the worst in the world. The NHS has been declared the world’s best healthcare system by an international panel of experts who rated its care superior to countries which spend far more on health.

    The same study also castigated healthcare provision in the US as the worst globally. Despite putting the most money into health, America denies care to many patients in need because they do not have health insurance and is also the poorest at saving the lives of people who fall ill, it found.

    The report has been produced by the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems. It examined an array of evidence about performance in 11 countries, including detailed data from patients, doctors and the World Health Organisation.

    “The United Kingdom ranks first overall, scoring highest on quality, access and efficiency,” the fund’s researchers conclude in their 30-page report. Their findings amount to a huge endorsement of the health service, especially as it spends the second-lowest amount on healthcare among the 11 – just £2,008 per head, less than half the £5,017 in the US. Only New Zealand, with £1,876, spent less.” http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/nhs-health?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    I prefer socialized medicine. You prefer making the insurance and pharmaceutical companies richer.

  5. To clarify:
    Socialized medicine is run by the state, and providers are employed by the state. Not the US system, to say the least, except for the VA.

  6. Demosthenes says:

    So you prefer the previous status quo under Pres. Bush the Lesser. Got it.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:


    There are no improvements that are not offset tenfold by the problems presented with your reactionary plan.

    Obamacare is failing – three of the largest insurancde compaines are bailing.

    Democrats and Republicans have the same reactionary politics.

  8. Demosthenes says:

    So it’s a step backwards to require insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions? So it’s a step backwards millions more of us now have health insurance? So it’s a step backwards that Medicaid has expanded to cover millions of the additional working poor? So it’s a step backwards that children can now stay on their parents’ health insurance plans up to age 26?

    You’re either an inflexible ideologue uninterested in tangible improvements to the lives of millions or a secret pro-Trump/Putin Moby.

  9. Bill_Perdue says:

    Obamacare, like a the political moves of the Democrat/Republicans, is a step backwards.

    Everything the Clihntons do is ultimatley reactionary. Unless you plan on defending DADT, DOMA, NAFTA, deregulation and the depression it caused, uniopn busting and innumerable wars of aggression. Maybe you do – alfter all you’re a Democrat and your party is led by right wing rich people and is lurching to the right.

    Democrats and Republicans should lose becasue they have the same reactionary politics.

  10. Demosthenes says:

    So, rather than acknowledging the ACA is a good first start, given political constraints, but needs improvements, you read some sort of right-wing conspiracy into it all, and led by the “nefarious” Clintons. Your attitude is how Ralph Nader let Pres. Bush the Lesser get elected, and how the Vulgar Talking Yam™ could still win in November.

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    We’ve been over that. There are no iimprovements that are not offset tenfold by the problems presented with your plan. Unless you consider the fact that it’s failing, that premiums are going up, that its being used to gut Medicare and union helath care plans as imporvements.
    Maybe you do – alfter all you’re a Democrat and your party is led by right wing rich people and is lurching to the right.

  12. Demosthenes says:

    You offer rhetoric and do nothing to address my point about the ACA improvements. You should stop while you’re behind

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    You ignore the fact that your support a reactionary candidate and party who have nothing of value for working people to support and who are turning even further right with each passing day.

    “Now Clinton has made another move that may have many scratching their heads and questioning her promises. Clinton has named former Colorado Democratic Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazer (sic – it’s Salazar) to be the chair of her presidential transition team. … Why is this significant? Salazar has a long history of being in bed with the oil, gas, ranching and mining industries. He also opened the Arctic Ocean for oil drilling, oversaw the terrible response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is a huge supporter of the TPP, and has fought against restrictions on fracking. … Environmentalists are especially worried. Greenpeace USA Democracy Campaign Director Molly Dorozenski said in a public statement: “If Clinton plans to effectively tackle climate change, the last thing her team needs is an industry insider like Ken Salazar. Salazar’s track record illustrates time and again that he is on the side of big industry, and not of the people.”

    H Clinton is lurching to the right. Obamacare is a failure. There are no advantages derived from Obamacare that are not offset by its disadvantages.

  14. Demosthenes says:

    You ignore facts not supporting your preconceived ideas. Your lack of response to the life saving ACA changes I presented speaks volumes.

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    There are no improvements until we get socialized medicine. Your plan is a failure and it’s becoming more widely rejected by working people. That’s a good thing.

  16. Demosthenes says:

    You ignore the reality I pointed out on the improvements.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s not an improvement because it’s meant to increase profits for the rich who own insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It’s used to gut Medicare. And it’s a failure.

    Socialized medicine for workers is the only solution. That’s not a question of ‘purity’, that’s a question of necessity. Incrementalism is a delusion. Pretending that Obamacare is an incremental advance is a delusion.

  18. Demosthenes says:

    Confession: I wanted a public option added to the ACA. I also thought it was not a great plan, since it didn’t control drug prices and kept insurance companies in the picture. That said, it is an improvement over the prior status quo in bringing medical insurance to millions. You want it all, and chastise those who don’t win it all. If Pres. Obama had taken your strategy and lost, we’d be back where we were under Pres. Bush the Lesser. Millions without health insurance who now have it, insurance companies able to deny treatment to those with preexisting conditions, and children cut off from their parents’ health care plans at a young age.

    Of course, you’d be satisfied in your purity and goodness, so there’s that, right?

  19. Bill_Perdue says:

    Please try to prove that.

    What do you mean?

    Do you mean 70% of socialized medicine. That’s as absurd as it is untrue.. The only form of socialized medicine in the US is Medicare and the Obama regime is gutting that to enrich parasitic insurance companies and Big Pharma.

    WASHINGTON — In his new budget, President Obama proposed on Monday to squeeze $399 billion over the next 10 years out of Medicare, Medicaid and other programs run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Under the proposals, many Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for their care and coverage. The president would, for example, introduce a co-payment for new Medicare beneficiaries who receive home health care services, and he would collect $4 billion over 10 years by imposing a surcharge on premiums for new beneficiaries who buy generous private insurance to supplement Medicare.

    In addition, Mr. Obama’s budget would reduce scheduled Medicare payments to teaching hospitals, hundreds of small rural hospitals, nursing homes and health maintenance organizations that care for older Americans and people with disabilities.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/us/politics/under-obama-budget-many-medicare-recipients-would-pay-more.html?emc=edit_th_20150203&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=25790019

    Your comment about ‘purity’ vrs necessity are a cover for supporting a failing and reactionary plan pushed through by the Obama regime and bribed Congressional criminals.

  20. Demosthenes says:

    Why have 70% when one can be “pure” and get 0%?

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    I guess it’s as easy to expect that leftists will say as what reactionaries will say. That’s not news. And it doesn’t shed any light or refute anything I said.

    So I’ll try again. Obamacare is a failure and it was a step backwards and a betrayal of promises made by Democrats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acc6Wn_BWlk

  22. heimaey says:

    Yes, Republicans are better at decieving – Democrats are better at lying.

  23. Badgerite says:

    Always up for a chat. Have a good one.

  24. Badgerite says:

    Justice Kennedy did not “flip”. He has always been pro gay rights. But he needed Clinton and Obama appointments to make it a vote of 5/4. Without them, there would have been no chance at all. He would have been the lone voice on the Court in support of gay rights.
    We have gone down this road before and I think Jon has covered this rather well in previous posts.
    Go read them. He would certainly not be supporting Hilary Clinton unless he knew her commitment to gay rights was real and continuing.
    Obama, though, refused to defend DOMA at the Court, in case you forgot.
    It was I believe Boehner who insisted that the government contest the case, and that the taxpayers pay for it. Not the Obama DOJ.

  25. Blogvader says:

    Thank you for the lively discussion, Badgerite.

  26. Badgerite says:

    eye roll back.
    FDR had a very Democratic Congress to work with. So did LBJ.
    Had it been GOP controlled Congresses that they had had to work with, they would not have gotten anything done. Even though FDR had a national crisis to deal with that, as he saw it, threatened the country’s very survival, the GOP was still very opposed to what he did and vilified him terribly for doing it. They did not retain sufficient power in Congress to block him but they certainly did in the Court which gave rise to the Court Packing Scandal that damaged FDR badly.
    What LBJ accomplished in Civil Rights was the exception to this. But he actually did need Congress to vote for the Voting Rights Act. Or it would not be law now. And that involved something he was uniquely good at. Political arm-twisting.
    Again. Congress won’t play with me it not an excuse. It is a fact.
    The Constitution of the United States vests all legislative authority in Congress. You can propose budgets and legislation, but if Congress will not pass them, they are DOA. It is that simple. Nothing to complicated about that. really. During Obama’s term, the GOP in Congress have used this power to literally shut down the government to try to extract concessions from him and even threatened to default on the National Debt as a means of doing so. Excuse? I don’t think so.
    Sanders or anyone else would face the same thing.

  27. Blogvader says:

    You do realize it was a flipped conservative on the Supreme Court that gave us the DOMA repeal, yes?

    And that the candidate you support actually supported DOMA, right?

    I’m also fine with evolving stances, but only when they lead to action, not as a rebranding effort. That suggests insincerity. What exactly did Obama do that you think he deserves credit for marriage rights?

  28. Blogvader says:

    Maybe you’re right.

    I struggle with the assumption that any big-money candidate will do anything to reform campaign finance, especially in the knowledge that they’re backed by Goldman Sachs. We learned in the DNC email leaks that DNC packages were priced at $400,000.00 to $1,500,000.00.

    Again, I hope I’m wrong, but realistically it’s tough for me to bridge the gap you have, where a candidate raking in the tens of millions in cash is going to somehow change the system and make less money.

  29. Badgerite says:

    Well, I made an “educated guess” on what Barack Obama’s election would mean for gay rights. His stances were “evolving”. And that seemed to work out pretty well. I don’t mind “evolving” stances. It is called ‘waiting for everyone else to catch up’. Or consensus building. And it works. Politics is never a sure thing. Neither is life. Deal with it.

  30. Demosthenes says:

    Your response is exactly what I expected, and did not disappoint.

  31. Badgerite says:

    Ah, but that is not what I did. What I said was it is legal because of,,,,,,current composition of the Supreme Court. And if you want that to be illegal or even restrained by law in any way, you would need to vote this next election for someone who shares your philosophical outlook and who will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will reverse or alter that decision. It is as simple as that. It is not a “defense”. It is a reality.
    Bill Clinton’s appointees on the Court all voted in the dissent on Citizens United. Hilary Clinton opposes it. And her appointees to the Court are highly likely to oppose it as well. It is that simple. And it is that true.

  32. Badgerite says:

    Again. Just a blanket proclamation of her “dishonesty” without any real substance. And trump is no “distraction”. He is a threat to the very fiber of American democracy and an insult to its history and its laws. And he is the nominee for President of the United States of one of the two major parties in the American political system. That is not a “distraction”.
    That is a MENACE.

  33. Bill_Perdue says:

    Only Trump can save H Clinton.

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

  35. Badgerite says:

    Not an “excuse”. She doesn’t need one. There have been a gazillion investigations. And NOT – ONE – SINGLE – THING -THAT – DIDN’T- ADD- UP-TO- OH…..NEVERMIND. Not even a friggin parking fine that wasn’t paid. The Orange Grifter will not even release his tax returns. Not that that is surprising. I’m sure there are a gazillion things to hide in there.
    Sander, had he won the nomination, and his wife would be getting the same treatment as we speak. He has not and is not because he has never been viewed as an electoral threat to the powers that be.

  36. Bill_Perdue says:

    The only thing Democrats are better at is lying.

    They pretend to be for improved medical care, etc, but they’re not. And now the failure of Obamacare, which Obama and the Democrats used as an excuse to gut Medicare leaves us with nothing.

  37. heimaey says:

    It’s easy for them to accept that because one side is slightly better, that side is fine. We can do a millions times better all around. Our government is an embarassment.

  38. heimaey says:

    Yeah Trump’s worse – but that’s the best Hillary supporters with blinders on can do. Trump is a distraction, a moron, she has to have her feet held to the fire constantly. She’s not trustworthy or honest.

  39. heimaey says:

    That’s always the excuse – they’re after her! The Clintons are SHADY. They deserve everything that comes their way. They’ve dug their own grave…sorry, not all of us buy into the poor pitiful Clintons.

  40. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Bushes, Reagan, Carter, the Clintons and Obama are criminals and enemies of working people. It was a very bad plan from the point pf view of providing healthcare to working people. Socialized medicine is the only way to do that.

    Obamacare is a plan to enrich insurance companies and big Pharma and it’s unworkable – younger people aren’t signing up to enrich them and the largest insurance companies are bailing. They want even more money and are abandoning Obamacare. So much for incrementalism and other political delusions.

    “Purity” in politics is not supporting reactionary – Democrat/Republican – politics. It consists of fighting for what is necessary for working people instead of fighting to what is better for rich people.

  41. Blogvader says:

    In other words, they are an integral part of the system.

    I’m always amused at supposed liberals resorting to the ‘But it’s legal!’ defense when presented with examples of seemingly unethical behavior.

  42. Blogvader says:

    As to what Hilary Clinton will or will not do, you make an assertion
    based on nothing other than the Trump Monsters Hilary is the Devil meme.

    Um, no.

    I’m making an educated guess based on her recent statements and her ever-evolving stances on various issues, including health care and drug prices, depending on which group she decides she needs to increase her appeal to.

    But, if it makes you feel better to tag everyone who disagrees with you as a Trump supporter, have at it. It’s not going to win you any extra votes.

  43. Blogvader says:

    *eye roll*

    You’re the one who is hedging your bets here. We’ve seen many, many presidents work with difficult congressional bodies and still implement big social changes. (FDR and LBJ come readily to mind.)

    If you don’t think your candidate can realistically win congressional support for their platform, get a better candidate. The Democratic Party, historically, has offered up plenty who weren’t willing to resort to the ‘Congress won’t play with me!’ excuse.

  44. Demosthenes says:

    “Obama and the Democrats and Republicans are criminals for denying healthcare to working people.”

    Uh huh. By passing the best possible plan given political constraints to expand medical insurance to millions of Americans, Pres. Obama is a “criminal” and denied healthcare to working people. God forbid one must govern and compromise to move the ball forward. It’s so much more emotionally satisfying taking the “pure” route and getting nothing at all, right?

  45. Badgerite says:

    They have spent 20 odd years going after this woman. They being the GOP. They have had hearings and investigations and smear campaigns. In fact one of their smear campaigns resulted in the Citizens United decision that is so reviled by progressives and even most of the public right now. Citizens United was a group that made a Hilary-hating ‘movie’.
    “Horrible person” isn’t someone who has been subjected to an extended smear campaign. “Horrible person” is someone who mocks a person with Spina Bifida, who makes blatant racist appeals, who bilks ordinary working people and investors out of their life savings to fund his lavish life style,,,,,etc We won’t even get into his ‘Lebensraum’ speech. The list really is endless.
    The GOP hasn’t spent this much time and money trying to vilify someone for no reason. They know she’ll make a good president.
    One who stands in the way of their plans to dismantle the Voting Rights Act, disenfranchise the young, the poor and minorities.and basically impoverish the country through a mindless tax policy that does nothing but bankrupt government and enrich an enclave or reactionary aristocratic wannabes.

  46. HiloBoy69 says:

    Come over to Switzerland anytime. You have a guestroom waiting.

  47. Badgerite says:

    Maybe she should try making fun of and mocking a person with Spina Bifida. That might help. It would be soooooo ,,,,,,’presidential’.

  48. heimaey says:

    Yeah – she’s a horrible politician – been documented for years, lowest approval rating of any candidate in history aside from Trump. I got nothing! Things look nice in that bubble!

  49. Badgerite says:

    Okay, now that little rant was ridiculous. You got nothing.

  50. Badgerite says:

    Her ambition is to be a the President of the United State which is hardly a bad thing. And her other ambition is to be a good one ( see legacy).
    Nothing wrong with that.

  51. heimaey says:

    Yes – look the Clinton Foundation news this week. The Boston Globe is calling for her to shut it down. She has two interest – her ambition and her legacy. That’s it.

  52. heimaey says:

    Right and Hillary Clinton is a horrible politician. Horrible orator – comes across as phony and incincere. It’s really just not her thing and she’s only here because of Bill.

  53. heimaey says:

    *Rolls eyes* the country is not happy with this election and it’s going to become more and more apparent. No amount of Clinton admiration here or elsewhere will change that.

  54. Badgerite says:

    If you are complaining about campaign contributions as thinly veiled bribes that will buy policy then you would need to address Citizens United. For currently, those campaign contributions are classified by order of the Supreme Court of the Untied States as free speech and beyond the reach of any kind of government restrictions. In other words, they are an integral part of the system. And the only way to change that short of a constitutional amendment which is time consuming and not likely to get through the gauntlet of GOP controlled state legislatures would be through appointments to the Supreme Court, which by the by, happens to be a big issue this election. Hilary Clinton is now and has always been against the Citizens United decision.
    Indeed, Citizens United was an organization that put out a vicious hit piece on her no less.
    She will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who share her philosophical outlook. Short of a constitutional amendment, Citizens United that identifies what you call ‘bribes’ as free speech will be institutionalized unless the Court acts in a timely manner to alter or overturn its previous decision. So you are really arguing against yourself here. If the issue is money in politics and how to keep it from corrupting the political process, then Citizens United must be overturned or modified in some other way. That will only happen if Hilary Clinton is the one picking the next nominees to the Court.

  55. Badgerite says:

    And that is why you are the ‘internet guru’. :)

  56. Badgerite says:

    Okay, I stand corrected on the part about Bernie Sanders saying nothing about the issue. But everything else I said is indeed correct. This is not about insurance. This is about drug prices. It is not really a ‘populist’ proposal. If you are going to go by who mentioned it first, well, Jon Aravosis has been talking about this very issue for years. Long before Bernie Sanders or even Occupy Wall Street became a thing.
    As to what Hilary Clinton will or will not do, you make an assertion based on nothing other than the Trump Monsters Hilary is the Devil meme.
    She is not, you know. I’m sure she has every intention of doing what she proposes on this particular issue. But whether she actually can or not will depend on Congress as they are the one’s who have the authority to legislate. Not the POTUS. And this fact would be a fact regardless of the whether the nominee were Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
    One thing you can be absolutely sure of, the Trump Monster has no intention of doing anything on this issue.

  57. Badgerite says:

    No. That is just how democracy works. Since absolute power corrupts absolutely, power in our republic and by design is defuse, decentralized. Which results in many moving parts and the requirement of building an actual political consensus to get anything actually done. We try not to have a ‘strongman’. We try to have strong arguments meant to persuade.
    Whether Hilary Clinton will be able to do all she wants to for this country depends on support in Congress and that support depends on the upcoming elections. There is nothing to mysterious or complicated about that. And it is the same calculus that would have come into play if Bernie Sanders had been the nominee. Without Congressional support, there would be limits to what he could accomplish irrespective of what he wanted to accomplish or what he promised to accomplish. That is just the way democracy works. “Kick out the Style and back the Jam”.

  58. emjayay says:

    From Wikipedia: “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” is a phrase used in the feminist movement and is the name of a speech given by Hillary Clinton, the First Lady of the United States, on 5 September 1995, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Clinton declared “that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights”. Delegates from over 180 countries heard her say:

    “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be
    that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human
    rights, once and for all.”

    In making the speech, Clinton defied both internal administration pressure and external Chinese pressure to soften her remarks.

    Addressing international diplomats in Geneva in 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likened gay rights to women’s rights and the struggle for racial equality. While she recognized that the U.S.’s own track record with gay rights is “far from perfect,” Clinton criticized nations that criminalize gay behavior or that tolerate violence or prejudice against the LGBT community, noting that it should “never be a crime” to be gay.

    “Gay rights are human rights,” she told those gathered, “and human rights are gay rights.” Clinton also drove home the existence of gay individuals across various communities, countries, and social classes:

    “Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes, and whether we know it or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends and our neighbors.

    “Some believe homosexuality is a Western phenomenon,” she added, “but gay people belong to every society in the world. Being gay is not a Western invention, it is a human reality.”

  59. emjayay says:

    I’m a Democrat. I did not know that my approval rating was higher than Hillary Clinton’s, but I appreciate the compliment.

  60. Blogvader says:

    And, there we go.

    You’ve already skipped to the ‘excuse making’ stage. Apparently you’re not as confident as you’d like everyone to think you are.

    Have a pleasant day, Badgerite.

  61. Blogvader says:

    You are wrong as you mischaraterized the entire post.

    I clarified my meaning. Thanks.

    This is not a ‘populist’ posturing on the part of Hilary Clinton.

    Yes, it is.

    Bernie Sanders said nothing about this particular issue.

    Two seconds on berniesanders.com proves you’re wrong.

    What this is is a very good policy proposal that would benefit the public at large

    It’s a wonderful policy proposal… that Hillary has no intention of fighting for.

  62. Badgerite says:

    Well, in 2008 Hilary Clinton was up against a campaign that was by the man’s (Barack Obama’s) own description, “lightening in a bottle”. When I started listening to him it was clear to me that he was going to be an excellent president. And so he has been. Although I have always admired Hilary Clinton, I saw Barack Obama as an important transitional and perhaps transformational figure in our history. And when history calls,,,,,
    I thought in 2008 that Hilary Clinton had the ability and the stature to be a good president. I think her time working in the Obama administration and on the world stage has only made that more so. I suspect Jon was as taken by the “lightening in a bottle” aspect of the 2008 campaign as anyone. But each election cycle you choose the person running who will make the best president. This time around, it is Hilary Clinton, hands down. And she may also become a transformative figure in American politics. She has that potential.

  63. Badgerite says:

    Nope. One is Orange and just made a foreign ‘policy’ speech that sounded like he was calling for more ‘lebensraum’.

  64. Badgerite says:


  65. Badgerite says:

    Well, this is just ridiculous. “Benefits her directly”? You are saying that she is only making this proposal so that people will vote for her. Uh huh. Sooooo?
    That is, after all, how you decide if you want to vote for someone. Unless, of course, you are into Der Furhers like the Trump Monster. And you just want him to “Make America White Again”. And slightly ‘unhinged’.
    I will quote to you what FDR said to some of his supporters who wanted him to get specific policy proposals enacted. “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.” The job of any social movement is not to enforce some kind of level of political purity on the political world for that is just a fools errand. The job of any successful social movement is to put the wind at the backs of the politicians who “agree with you” and “want to do it”. And what that means is a Democratic Congress which is committed to the Democratic Party Platform and a President Hilary Clinton.
    For me, the greatest thing Hilary Clinton has proposed is for We the People to start investing in the country and its people again. This is what government can do best and most effectively. Government may not be a “solution” in and of itself. But it can and is a catalyst to solutions all the time. It is time to start “reinventing” America ( a Gary Wills phrase that really describes the dynamic of the American system). Reinvention and innovation are what America is perhaps the best at in the world. It is time for the government to serve as a catalyst to let that dynamism lose again.

  66. Bill_Perdue says:

    Now that Obamacare is failing, leftists will continue to fight for socialized medicine.

    As for Clinton. she’s just another tawdry 1%er lawyer out to enrich herself. There are no significant differences between her and her rival except for their gang colors – one is red and the other is blue and both are utterly corrupt.

  67. Badgerite says:

    You are wrong as you mischaraterized the entire post. This is not a ‘populist’ posturing on the part of Hilary Clinton. Bernie Sanders said nothing about this particular issue. Nor did his campaign. What this is is a very good policy proposal that would benefit the public at large. “Populist” or not.

  68. Badgerite says:

    Well, it actually depends on Congress. The president has no legislative authority. If Congress doesn’t pass it, the president cannot sign it and it does not become law. Which is another reason why Bernie Sanders would not get anywhere regardless for the same reason. American democracy has many moving parts. Politics in America is a little bit like ‘cat herding’ and there are hundreds of cats to be herded. So I am actually less concerned about what a position someone takes in the primaries. Without a strong political party getting your legislation through Congress, any politicians positions are only aspirations. What Hilary Clinton will accomplish will depend on the Congress she has to work with. Period. But i will bet you a $1.00 if you like. Moose and Squirrel says HI.

  69. Blogvader says:

    I honestly hope I’m wrong, if that makes you feel any better about it.

  70. Badgerite says:

    Seems to me you don’t know what you are talking about.

  71. Blogvader says:


    Sort of.

    One has to omit some pretty stark counterexamples to reach such a rosy conclusion, but discussing that with you is a waste of time at this point.

  72. Blogvader says:


    Clearly you got my meaning, which is why your response was so robust. She’s for universal health care, then she’s against it, but don’t worry, she’ll fight the drug companies too even though she wants to reinforce the idea that she’s a good capitalist.

    Hillary is a political chameleon, and I’d be happy to agree to a wager with you that, if elected, she’ll do nothing to advance health care in this country. Say… $1.00?

  73. Badgerite says:

    Primary “system”. We don’t really call it the primary “system” here in the US. We call it the primaries, but whatever.
    And Jon’s post was not about the “parasitic health care industry”.
    It was about the higher price of prescription drugs in the US versus the prices the same companies charge for the same drugs outside of the United States. So the post is actually about the pharmaceutical industry specifically. Not about the health insurance industry.
    And what Hilary Clinton proposes would be legislation that would repeal certain aspects of legislation passed during the Bush administration that literally prohibited the federal government from bargaining with the pharmaceutical companies to get the lowest price possible for Medicare recipients. Bernie Sanders took no position whatsoever on this in the primaries. It didn’t really come up. His campaign was based on the idea of a single payer health care system run by the government. Which is actually a whole different topic. Not that you were really paying attention, I’m sure.
    Moose and Squirrel says hi.

  74. Blogvader says:

    I’m inclined to agree.

    She’s taking steps to fix her branding, which is smart for her campaign. I doubt she has any real intention of following through.

  75. Blogvader says:

    That’s just (pardon my French) stupid. I have never cared why a particular politician advocates the right policy.

    After 2008, it’s difficult for me to look at an establishment Democrat and truly believe they mean the populist things they say, and I’m not the only one, or else HRC would have won much more than 58% of her own party.

    In Hillary’s case, she’s flip-flopped on health care many times. She once supported universal health care, but during this primary system she advocated for the openly parasitic health care industry. Now she says that she’ll take on said parasitic health insurance industry and directly challenge price gouging.

    She seems to think that she needs Bernie supporters and elderly people now, which is why she’s saying what she is, but I don’t think she has any intention of following through with it.

  76. heimaey says:

    Well she has the lowest approval rating of any dem so you’re in a minority! good luck!

  77. Where’s the freak out that Hillary “llied” (by ommission, apparently) by not noting that not all AIDS activists are in agreement in California about how to best go about fixing this?

    I remember the hyperbole and nastiness spewed here at Bernie for saying the exact same thing Hillary just said.

  78. heimaey says:

    John – we saw you bash her to bits 8 years ago. We didn’t like her then we don’t like her now. She and BIll have dragged the Dems back dozens of years on policy. I want to see her beat Trump then I want to see her out of office and replaced with someone more liberal ASAP. You can pretend she’s amazing now but many of us on the alt-left (the real left not the center) see through her bullshit.

    PS Uncercover – ha ha. More like getting a child rapist off and laughing about it.

  79. We’ve had good luck with her for 50 years, so I’m pretty damn excited that she’s winning.

  80. She actually has going on 50 years of being an amazing progressive advocate. So amazing a progressive advocate that the right wing, and now some on the alt-left, have decided to demonize her, for lord knows what person reason they have for hating her. The rest of us, who have been following her career for decades, know that you don’t go undercover in the deep south to fight racism unless you’re a pretty good cookie. I simply reject your entire premise.

  81. heimaey says:

    Well if one thing Hillary has done over the years it’s dissapoint me so hopefully I’m wrong. But you know, good luck with her.

  82. Demosthenes says:

    Your crystal ball is amazing. You should play the lottery. I recommend you bet YUUUGE.

  83. Demosthenes says:

    Additional comment: Nasonex is about Euro 7 in France. I’m visiting next month, and will load up again!

  84. heimaey says:

    She has 25 years of showing us she’s not giving up the money so I think it’s a safe bet she’s not going to start now.

  85. Demosthenes says:

    You are an incredibly brilliant mind reader.

  86. heimaey says:

    Except that it probably won’t because she has no interest in giving up that money if she doesn’t have to. It’ll be another “it was too hard to pass” etc. blah blah blah.

  87. heimaey says:

    I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying, honestly, but what I am saying is that she has no interest in doing it unless it benifits her directly. That’s a problem for many reasons but not because I hold politicans to high ethical standards, especially not the Clintons, but because she goes whichever way the wind blows. So she has no motivation to sticking to this. So yeah it does matter what politicans believe and think sometimes despite Mr. Aravosis saying he doesn’t care. It matters because ultimately that’s what drives them and that’s waht effects us.

  88. Demosthenes says:

    As you and Mr. Aravosis say, who cares what is the reason, so long as the correct policy is adopted.

  89. Demosthenes says:

    Great piece, Mr. Aravosis!

    I have a personal story you may find useful. I visited Greece in May. Nasonex (a nasal spray for allergy patients) costs about $75 for a single dispenser here. In Greece it was Euro 7.12 in a single pack, and Euro 12.70 in a double pack. We are getting ripped off in the USA.

  90. Bingo — I always tell the story of Log Cabin Republicans, who used to tell me that while Bush pushed anti-gay policies, in his heart he really liked us. I told them I’d prefer that he pushed pro-gay policies and loathed us in his heart. I care what politicians do, I don’t particularly care what their motivations are, other than to the degree I can use their motivations to then motivate them to do what I want.

  91. Badgerite says:

    So, your complaint is what? She advocates reigning in Big Pharma and the price Americans are charge for prescription drugs but she doesn’t do it with sufficient ‘purity’?

  92. heimaey says:

    Hillary has no interest in lowering drug prices if it doesn’t suit her pocketbook or her legacy. She does have an interest in keeping Obamacare going, however, as that will rest on her and Obama’s legcy and with everything going on with Aetna etc. she is going to have to reevaluate that single payer system she wanted inititally then despised later when she was busy cashing in.

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