On The Side Of The Pharmaceutical Companies

From a release from the Maine Democratic Party on a vote on LD 719:

Rep. Treat: “It all comes down to whose side you are on. Democrats think the law should be on the side of the patient and the taxpayer – not the pharmaceutical companies.”

The vote that the Maine Democratic Party is talking about here ended up passing 79-59.  As you can see, their release frames the issue in typical silly partisan language, describing the “no” votes as champions of the patient and taxpayer, and “yes” votes as evil stooges of big scary pharmaceutical companies.
Typically a communications operation sends such black and white, this or that language out on party line votes, where the members of one party all line up in one direction, and the members of the other party line up in the opposite direction.  The reasons are obvious, if you want to throw giant rhetorical bombs, you don’t want to associate members of your own caucus in the evil sin of voting for a bill.
In this case, though, Representatives Alan Casavant, Herbert Clark, Stephen Hanley, Donald Pilon and Michael Shaw, all Democrats, are similarly labeled as “on the side of pharmaceutical companies” and “against the interests of patients and taxpayers.”
The release goes on to suggest that passage of the law will drive up prices, remove transparency from the healthcare system, jeopardize lives, encourage fraud, and a litany of other, equally silly accusations.
Which of course means the party just called five of its members the most horrible scum in the state of Maine.  I wonder how the members of the Democratic caucus who voted yes on this bill feel about being called out like that.  Not good, I would imagine.
There is of course another explanation – that the bill was not at all the vile, twisted, ill-conceived legislation they claim it is, and that the nearly ten percent of voting Democrats who actually voted yes thought that it was actually a pretty good idea.
Lesson for the future – don’t fire indiscriminately into a crowd, unless none of your own people happen to be in that crowd.
Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.