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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

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 TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East 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 DoggettTrump tax story prompts calls to revise estate rules Trump gained millions from questionable tax strategies: New York Times Trump is wrong, Dems are fighting to save Medicare and Social Security MORE (D-Texas), who is a lead sponsor of the bill along with Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchElectric carmakers turn to Congress as tax credits dry up One Vermont Republican wins statewide nomination in six races Live results: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut hold primaries MORE (D-Vt.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Oversight Dems call for probe into citizenship question on 2020 census 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.