White House unveils proposals aimed at high drug prices

White House unveils proposals aimed at high drug prices
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The Trump administration on Friday laid out its most in-depth proposal to fight high drug prices yet, acting on an area that is a high priority for President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE but has seen little movement so far.

A 28-page document released by the White House on Friday, ahead of the president’s budget proposal on Monday, lays out a range of policies aimed at making medication more affordable, also a top priority for the public in polling.

The proposals include a cap on out-of-pocket spending for enrollees in Medicare’s prescription drug program, allowing up to five states to join together to negotiate drug prices for Medicaid and cutting Medicare payments to remove an incentive for doctors to prescribe higher-priced drugs.

The proposals, while sure to be controversial, do not include some more sweeping measures that Trump has favored in the past, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices or allowing importation of drugs from abroad. Those ideas are generally more favored by Democrats. 

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The Trump administration’s emphasis is on reforms to make competition and the market work better.

The proposals would have to be approved by Congress, meaning the announcement Friday is only a first step on an uncertain path.  

The White House document seeks to emphasize that the administration values innovation from drug companies, but also wants to lower prices.

“The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry is the engine of worldwide biopharmaceutical innovation and an important part of our economy,” it states. “Preserving this industry and encouraging it to innovate while making drugs more available and affordable for all Americans is an attainable goal.”

Trump himself has used stronger language, saying drug companies are “getting away with murder” in their high prices. These proposals could begin to take action on that front.

Not all of the proposals directly affect drug prices. Instead, some change how the share of who pays is divided. For example, one proposal would require insurers to share discounts they get from drugmakers with patients.