Merck Continues Support for ObamaCare Despite Legal Uncertainty
by Judy Kent
Merck CEO Tells National Center for Public Policy Research His Firm Has no Structures in Place to Prevent it from Lobbying for Unconstitutional Legislation; Declines to Commit to Any Free-Market Health Care Reforms
Bridgewater, NJ / Washington, DC - Today, at the annual meeting of Merck shareholders in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier reasserted his company's support for ObamaCare in response to questions from the National Center for Public Policy Research - despite the law's unpopularity and possible imminent demise at the hands of the Supreme Court.
Frazier reiterated his company's support for ObamaCare, offering the empty, liberal platitude that all Americans deserve access to affordable heath care and health insurance. Unfortunately for Frazier, ObamaCare was never about expanding health insurance coverage; it was about power and control. Legislative history uncovered during ObamaCare litigation shows that Congressional Democrats wrote the individual mandate because they realized that most uninsured Americans were young and healthy, so, by forcing them to buy expansive and expensive insurance plans, they could make ObamaCare appear affordable.
Merck is a member of the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobby, which dedicated $150 million for an advertising campaign to promote ObamaCare. So through its contributions to PhRMA, Merck directly supported the passage of ObamaCare.
"The American people soundly reject ObamaCare, and now the highest court in the land appears poised to toss all, or a key portion - the individual mandate, of this misguided bill to the trash heap as an unconstitutional overreach," said National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof. "It is surprising to see a pharmaceutical company so firmly clinging to this sinking ship."
At last year's Merck shareholder meeting, National Center President David Ridenour asked Frazier to provide an accounting of how much shareholder money Merck spent on PhRMA's $150 million ad campaign. Frazier said he would take the issue under advisement.
"Another year has come and gone, and Frazier is still refusing to account for the exact amount of financial support his company provided to help ensure ObamaCare's passage. It seems odd that Frazier would refuse to disclose the full amount since he is so proud that his company backed President Obama's massive federal healthcare power grab," said Danhof.
"In light of ObamaCare's uncertain future, I told Frazier that the nation would debate health care yet again, and offered that his company should work towards free-market reforms that the American public supports," said Danhof. "Frazier gave me, essentially, the same response that he did last year. It is discouraging that the head of a major, multi-national, pharmaceutical corporation couldn't be bothered to give an original response to shareholder concerns over reforms to the American health care system; one of the defining issues of our time."
Danhof also asked Frazier if his company put any structure or review in place to ensure that it never again attempt to promote legislation that violates the Constitution of the United States.
"Frazier made a failed attempt at humor when he sheepishly replied that it was never Merck's intention to violate the U.S. Constitution. Maybe Frazier and Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi have little regard for the Constitution, but most Americans consider that text to be sacrosanct," continued Danhof.
A YouTube video of Danhof's exchange with Frazier can be found here.
A transcript of the Danhof-Frazier exchange is here.
A copy of Justin Danhof's question, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Merck shareholder.