You'd think that with the GOP set to strike down government-mandated healthcare, that they'd push the free market as a viable alternative. To be fair, Republicans like Rand Paul are doing exactly that. Senate Republicans (and Democrats), on the other hand, have done the exact opposite by striking down an amendment that would allow Americans to purchase cheaper medicine from other countries.
The amendment in question would have allowed Americans to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, where they are relatively cheaper (and where their imports are currently prohibited), but was inevitably stuck down by Democrats and Republican senators alike.
Their excuse for rejecting the bill were “safety concerns”, as they argue that prescription medicine from other countries might not meet the same safety and effectiveness standards of medication manufactured within America.
Such reasoning is clearly bunk when you consider that most of the medicine that would have been imported from Canada were originally manufactured within America, and thus they would fall under American safety standards.
So what’s the real reason why Senate Republicans and Democrats opposed the amendment? The same reason why most politicians oppose anything: because it would cut into the profits of their corporate donors.
Such is the case with Cory Booker, the main Democrat Senator opposed to the amendment, and someone who has been well funded by Big Pharma:
Booker and some of his Democratic colleagues who opposed the Sanders amendment are longtime friends of the drug industry. As MapLight data shows, Booker has received more pharmaceutical manufacturing cash over the past six years than any other Democratic senator: $267,338. In addition, significant numbers of pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in Booker’s home state of New Jersey. Other Democrats receiving six-figure donations from the industry, like Casey, Patty Murray, and Michael Bennet, opposed the amendment.So no big surprise: Republicans claim to support the free market, and Democrats claim to support affordable healthcare, but both happily vote against their alleged "principles" when it goes against the best interests of their corporate donors.