GOP chair won't back Trump on negotiating Medicare drug prices

GOP chair won't back Trump on negotiating Medicare drug prices
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A top GOP chairman on Tuesday shot down one of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBipartisan group of mayors asks for immigration reform Obama offers laments and optimism at last presser Overnight Energy: Trump's EPA pick faces Congress | 2016 is the hottest year on record MORE’s most high-profile healthcare pitches: allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

When asked at a healthcare panel at the Republican National Convention if he would back Trump's proposal, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin BradyGOP rep faces testy crowd at constituent meeting over ObamaCare Border tax criticism clouds reform push Overnight Finance: Price puts stock trading law in spotlight | Lingering questions on Trump biz plan | Sanders, Education pick tangle over college costs MORE (R-Texas) flatly said, "No," prompting laugher in the room.  

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“Study after study shows that that will save no money,” Brady told the panel, hosted by the Cleveland Clinic and Bloomberg.

Trump, who is expected to accept the GOP’s nomination for president in Cleveland this week, has told supporters that he would allow Medicare to directly challenge pharmaceutical companies to lower costs.

The policy proposal has long been a staple of Democratic health policy platforms, though it violates years of Republican orthodoxy. 

In Trump's latest healthcare platform, released in June, he left out Medicare negotiation, though he said he would cut the costs of prescription drugs.

Brady pointed to an existing program in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in which the government can negotiate the costs of its veterans' healthcare.  

He said the VA's health department has saved money by restricting access to costlier — and possibly more effective — treatments.   

“They don’t allow breakthrough drugs that may be more expensive, so they limit the medicines that are available, and they limit how the veterans can get them. They limit access,” he said.

When asked about how to rein in drug costs, Brady underscored the importance of government incentives to help encourage research.

“This is one of those issues ... the solution doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker,” Brady said. “If the government gets the incentives right, I guarantee the prices and the service will follow."