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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 TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts 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 DoggettCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Trump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line MORE (D-Texas), who is a lead sponsor of the bill along with Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary MORE (D-Vt.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWe must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs Voters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? 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.