A Single Tear for Billy Tauzin

| Tue Feb. 16, 2010 11:50 AM EST

Billy Tauzin | Wikimedia Commons.Billy Tauzin | Wikimedia Commons.Poor Billy Tauzin. The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-head of the pharmaceutical company lobby, PhRMA, is losing his job. The New York Times says it's because his constituents (pharmaceutical companies) think he "bargained away their profits" and spent too much money supporting a health care reform bill that he thought would inevitably pass. Tauzin and the White House made a secret deal last year that would limit the pharmaceutical industry's costs over the first ten years of the health bill to some $80 billion. Both sides thought they needed the deal—Tauzin because he was certain the bill would pass, and the White House because they were worried it might not if PhRMA opposed it.

Sure, PhRMA's support probably helped health care reform get to where it is now—stalled on the five-yard-line. It's a bummer to lose your job. But Tauzin has been making $2 million a year since 2004, when he got the PhRMA job a few months after negotiating (as a GOP member of Congress) the huge Medicare prescription drug benefit—widely seen as a massive giveaway to drug companies. So pardon me if I don't feel too bad for not-so-poor Billy.

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