With just one vote, Susan Collins made $7 billion for four big pharmaceutical companies — here's how

Remember how Sen. Susan Collins gave her “yes” vote on the GOP tax scam to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the ironclad promise that he'd do something to protect people with pre-existing conditions? That worked out well. So did the tax cuts Collins helped pass—for big pharmaceuticals, that is. An Oxfam report details how four pharmaceutical giants—Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck, and Abbott Laboratories—netted $7 billion in tax cuts from two central provisions. "This corporate gain," the report says, "comes at a massive public loss, especially to the health and well-being of women and girls."


That public loss, Oxfam posits, is the failure of these companies to reinvest those earnings ($5.3 billion of the $7 billion in savings came from bringing home untaxed offshore cash) in helping people. It's a loss of $7 billion toward federal coffers that could be going into public health. What's more, "Oxfam estimates that the four companies will pay $5.3 billion less per year over the next eight years as a result of the US corporate tax changes." The report details what that money could have been spent on:

• Health insurance for more than two-thirds of the 3.8 million children in the US still left uninsured, an important source of coverage for children of color and their mothers.

• Quality early childhood education for around 827,000 low-income children by funding 79% of the

Head Start program budget, in turn benefitting the mothers of these children.

• Doubling the entire annual budget of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which provides

essential funds for health issues ranging from women’s health to newborn screenings to immunizations so children can attend school.

• Almost doubling comprehensive efforts to end the opioid crisis, which killed almost 50,000 people in2017 alone and contributed to a decline in US life expectancy for the third straight year.

• Increasing, by almost one-fifth, the National Institutes of Health’s budget.

"These are all policy choices," Niko Lusiani, a senior adviser at Oxfam, told Axios. "And we haven't seen any big changes" in industry behavior. Axios reported on the massive healthcare industry profits last week, as well.

This is just four companies, Oxfam points out, used to "evaluate the short-term effect of the corporate tax overhaul and specifically whether drug companies were living up to their promises that the law would boost jobs, assets and productivity in the U.S." They're not. And you can thank Susan Collins in very large part for that.

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