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 TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: 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 DoggettWhite House talking new tax cuts with GOP On The Money: Lawmakers hammer Zuckerberg over Facebook controversies | GOP chair expects another funding stopgap | Senate rejects Dem measure on SALT deduction cap workarounds House committee advances measure taxing nicotine in vaping products MORE (D-Texas), who is a lead sponsor of the bill along with Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchImpeachment hearing breaks into laughter after Democrat contrasts it to Hallmark movie Diplomat ties Trump closer to Ukraine furor Impeachment hearing breaks into laughter after Democrat invites Trump to testify MORE (D-Vt.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaya Rockeymoore Cummings reports surgery was a success, will return to campaign trail The Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today Maloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump 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.