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 TrumpReport: Bannon told conservatives 'this is not a debate,' you have to back bill ObamaCare defeat caps difficult week for Trump Social media users troll GOP, Trump over ObamaCare repeal 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 BradyThe right approach to promoting competition in the health care marketplace GOP rushes to vote without knowing full impact of healthcare plan Overnight Healthcare: Trump threatens to leave ObamaCare in place if GOP bill fails 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."