GOP chairman plans hearings on Trump drug pricing proposals

GOP chairman plans hearings on Trump drug pricing proposals
© Greg Nash

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyPush for NAFTA deal continues as uncertainty increases Tax reform postmortem reveals lethal dose of crony capitalism Trump makes Manchin top target for midterms MORE (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he plans to conduct hearings on some of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMexican presidential candidate vows to fire back at Trump's 'offensive' tweets Elizabeth Warren urges grads to fight for 'what is decent' in current political climate Jim Carrey takes aim at Kent State grad who posed with AR-10 MORE’s new proposals to bring down drug prices.

Brady said it is too early to tell if the committee will move legislation on the issue, but said he wanted to consider the ideas.

“I think there's some very good ideas in that proposal and some very thoughtful ones that we need to be airing out,” Brady told reporters. “So, yeah, I do expect to conduct congressional hearings on some of those ideas.”

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Many of the proposals Trump unveiled on Friday the administration can do on its own, but some larger changes could require Congress, such as some changes to how Medicare pays for drugs.

Brady said he particularly liked items in the proposal to bring drugs to market faster to increase competition, as well as ideas to make sure that savings from insurer negotiations with drug companies make their way to consumers.

I think there was a lot there to digest, and it's worth pursuing,” Brady said.

Most observers do not expect Congress to take major action on the contentious area of drug prices in an election year, but Brady’s comments indicate there could at least be some discussion of the issue in Congress.  

Democrats have attacked Trump’s proposals for not going far enough. For example, his plan does not include a call for Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly.

Earlier on Tuesday, the main drug industry lobbying group said it had "serious concerns" with major elements of the plan, particularly proposals to move drugs from Medicare Part B into Part D.