Sen. Wicker must stop Bernie’s push towards socialized medicine

Published 7:10 am Wednesday, April 3, 2024

By Billy Landes
Guest columnist

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker just introduced legislation to stop the government from forcing taxpayers to fund health care for illegal immigrants. It’s about time. This government subsidy, supported by the likes of self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, might work to advance one side of the political aisle’s political agenda, but it’s hurting Mississippians’ welfare at the same time.  

Sanders seems to think the solution for every problem in America is more government. Despite the historic failures of government intervention in health care, he wants a complete state takeover of the industry. His ultimate goal is state-run healthcare. That would make our healthcare quality even worse and more expensive, especially right here in Mississippi. 

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One of those ideas is the PBM Transparency Act, a bill to allow the government to restrict pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from operating effectively.  

PBMs are private third-party groups that negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and help to increase choice in Americans’ health plans. Regulating them helps the real culprit behind sky-high drug prices: Big Pharma.  

In a February Senate hearing, he declared that “the overwhelming beneficiary of high drug prices in America is the pharmaceutical industry,” especially the drug companies, which he argued the government doesn’t regulate enough. 

However, during that same hearing, executives from some of the biggest drugmakers blamed PBMs — saying they pocket too much of the cost-savings they secure even though studies show it’s the drug companies, not the PBMs, that profit egregiously from drug sales. 

Sanders, to his credit, was skeptical of their claims. He pointed out the $34.6 billion Bristol Myers Squibb made selling Eliquis to the U.S. market compared to the rest of the world, pointing out that “not a single dollar” of this revenue is going to PBMs.” Yet, Sanders is still championing legislation that restricts PBMs and supports Big Pharma’s interests. 

Simple: PBMs promote choice — and Sanders, like all good socialists, doesn’t. So, it’s no surprise that he is championing legislation that would reduce consumer choice, restrict drug options for health insurance beneficiaries and ensure prices stay at what Big Pharma sets.  

It is great that Mississippi’s senators are challenging Sanders’ support for health care subsidies to illegal immigrants, but if they really want to stop his socialist health care playbook from advancing, they must stand against his push to regulate PBMs, which represents the next most logical step to socialized medicine in this country.

Billy Landes is CEO of Riverland Roofing of Oxford.