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 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 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 is wrong, Dems are fighting to save Medicare and Social Security Texas police arrest man for allegedly setting fire outside Dem lawmaker's office: reports Compulsory pharmaceutical licensing is little more than government theft MORE (D-Texas), who is a lead sponsor of the bill along with Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchOne Vermont Republican wins statewide nomination in six races Live results: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut hold primaries Overnight Health Care: Trump officials approve proposals to shore up ObamaCare | Study says 'Medicare for All' would cost .6T over 10 years | Dems court conservative Republican in drug pricing fight MORE (D-Vt.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsRep. Cummings: Will Kavanaugh take lie detector test and ask for FBI investigation? Graham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests 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.