Overnight Healthcare: Trump wants Medicare to negotiate drug prices

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE is calling for Medicare to be able to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices, a policy long backed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.

The Republican presidential candidate told a crowd in Farmington, N.H., Monday night that the policy would save billions of dollars before taking a shot at pharmaceutical companies, which strongly oppose the proposal.

"We don't do it. Why? Because of the drug companies," Trump said, according to The Associated Press.

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Democratic candidates Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE, as well as President Obama, have called for the same policy of letting Medicare negotiate prices, which it is currently banned from doing under the 2003 Medicare prescription drug law. The Democratic candidates have both bashed the drug companies on the stump.

Trump has already broken from Republican orthodoxy on one other major healthcare issue this campaign, defending his past support for single-payer healthcare, long a dream of liberals.

"As far as single payer, it works in Canada," Trump said at a Republican debate in August. "It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age." Read more here. http://bit.ly/1WMNNLb

SANDERS PUTS HOLD ON OBAMA'S FDA PICK: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is formally blocking President Obama's pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after announcing his opposition late last year.  

"Dr. [Robert] Califf's extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies," Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday.

He added that he's placed a hold on Califf's nomination because "we need a leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to drug companies."

Sander's announcement comes a day after Sen. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low-income communities Two GOP senators oppose Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee MORE (D-Mass.) said that he would block Califf's nomination until the agency changes its approval process for opioid painkillers.

Read more here. http://bit.ly/23rhKF8

RUBIO 'DISTURBED' BY ACTIVISTS' INDICTMENT Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico The Hill's 12:30 Report Colbert mocks Trump for sipping water during speech on Asia trip MORE (R-Fla.) says that he's bothered by a the surprise indictments of two individuals who claimed to expose Planned Parenthood, suggesting that the organization itself should have faced charges.

"I'm disturbed," the GOP presidential candidate told CNN on Monday night after a grand jury in Houston announced the criminal charges against anti-abortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.

"We'll need to learn more, but I'm disturbed that while Planned Parenthood, who are the ones that were actually selling off these parts were found having done nothing wrong, the people who tried to expose them are the ones that are now facing criminal charges," Rubio said. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1S96GJj

2016 AGENDA – CONFRONTING OPIOID EPIDEMIC? In a meeting on Tuesday between Obama and top Democratic leaders, the nation's growing opioid epidemic emerged as an area of potential bipartisan collaboration.

Obama met with Vice President Biden, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE, and will discuss the agenda at a Democratic conference on Thursday.

TOMORROW'S SCHEDULE:

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will speak at an event hosted by the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Three ways a Republican president could dismantle ObamaCare short of repeal (Washington Post)

What the U.S. and Bernie Sanders can learn from Canada's single-payer system (Mic)

Sanders's role in the Affordable Care Act (Talking Points Memo)

IN THE STATES:

Eleven states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing (Washington Post)

New York's ObamaCare exchanges raise concerns from S&P (Times Union)

Planned Parenthood critics trapped themselves (Texas Tribune)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

Anti-abortion leaders urge 'anyone but Trump.'

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