Profits over patients in politics

We’ve all been aware that one of the major problems with the Healthcare system in this country is that the profit motive always precedes the needs of the patients. Big Pharma raises their prices, hospitals raises their prices, and all at the expense of the patient.

So when politics gets involved in something that would benefit the sick, you would think that the one degree of separation from the business of Healthcare would be the buffer that allowed patients to finally have a chance for a break.

But if there are back-room deals involved, you know that is not going to be the case.

Here in Florida, we had the chance for the legislature to create an implementation bill for Amendment 2, which was approved by 71.3% of the voters to increase access of Medical Cannabis for patients with debilitating conditions, and they blew it.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that it was just another case of profits over patients.

It came from the top as it often does in Tallahassee.  In this case, the fight over the bill came over negotiations at the last minutes over a cap on the number of dispensaries. Senate President Joe Negron was insisting on a cap of 3 brick-and mortar dispensaries going into negotiations. The House countered with 10, the senate said 5. Then, when the House bill went back to the House, it now said 10, which surprised Majority Leader Rodriguez and Speaker Richard Corcoran. It was Corcoran that decided to counter with 50; they took an anger break and boosted it to 100. The senate countered by killing the bill by not voting at all.

So what motivated Corcoran? Maybe it’s because his brother, Michael, happens to run a lobbying firm that works for one of the 7 current dispensing organizations, Surterra, who stands to gain from the lack of caps or a higher cap.

But Stephanie Pollara, the sister of lobbyist and activist Ben Pollara, has come out publicly on record as verifying that it was the Speaker that raised the cap until it burst the bill.

You’d hope that money would not influence how this bill is being implemented. That for once it would be Patients, who in this case are WE THE PEOPLE, who voted overwhelmingly for this amendment and for this right to this plant as medicine.

If that’s not that case, then the Speaker needs to prove it to us.

We are not criminals or pawns or points of profit. We are patients, citizens and voters.

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