House Dems introduce bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices

House Dems introduce bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices
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House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, hoping to lay the groundwork for a push on the issue next year.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE previously supported the idea, which is usually associated with Democrats, but did not propose it as part of the drug pricing plan he released in May.

Democrats have attacked Trump for not going far enough to reduce soaring medication costs.

“This bill calls the President's bluff on his drug pricing promises,” said Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettA dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal Tax-return whistleblower in spotlight amid impeachment fight Is Congress too afraid to fight Big Pharma? MORE (D-Texas), who is a lead sponsor of the bill along with Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats plow ahead as Trump seeks to hobble impeachment effort Democrats claim new momentum from intelligence watchdog testimony Intelligence watchdog huddles with members as impeachment push grows MORE (D-Vt.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE (D-Md.).

Doggett said in an interview that lawmakers are introducing the bill now so that it can be fine-tuned and ready for a push next year if Democrats win back the House in November.

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We're trying to lay the groundwork for the next session,” he said, saying that Democrats want to be “ready to go with something” to vote on next year.

The measure has over 60 Democratic cosponsors.

The Trump administration has taken several steps on drug pricing already this year. Last week, for example, officials announced they are exploring allowing importation of drugs to increase competition when there are price spikes on old, off-patent drugs, a potentially significant step.

But Democrats want to go farther, and use Medicare’s negotiating power to bring down costs.  

"It defies logic that the federal government is not using its enormous purchasing power to get a better deal for seniors on prescription drugs,” Welch said.