GOP lawmakers air concerns with Trump drug pricing move in meeting with health chief

Republican lawmakers who worked as doctors expressed their concerns about President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE's controversial proposal to lower drug prices with the president's health chief Thursday.

The lawmakers in the GOP Doctors Caucus questioned Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the meeting about a proposal Trump put forward in October to lower certain Medicare drug prices by tying them to lower prices paid in other countries.

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The proposal was a dramatic departure from the usual Republican position on drug prices, and drew some mild praise from Democrats.

But now GOP lawmakers are airing concerns.

“I would say that the Doc Caucus has concerns but we're happy that they came and explained the program in more detail and what their proposal is,” said Rep. Larry BucshonLarry Dean BucshonGOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — West Coast wildfires drive East Coast air quality alerts House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water MORE (R-Ind.), a member of the group of about a dozen GOP lawmakers who are doctors.

Bucshon said he still had concerns after the meeting. He previously called the proposal is too close to “price controls.”

Rep. Phil RoeDavid (Phil) Phillip RoeHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Illinois Republican elected to serve as next ranking member of House Veterans' Affairs Committee Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year MORE (R-Tenn.), the co-chairman of the group, said the meeting gave lawmakers a chance to ask Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma questions about the proposal.

Azar and Verma explained the proposal and defended it, lawmakers said. “I think we have concerns but I think we had a lot less concerns [after the meeting],” Roe said.

The administration has argued that Medicare Part B currently essentially pays drug companies whatever price they want for their products, and that the system needs to change.  

Roe noted that the proposal is still in the preliminary stages, proving more time for input.

In a further sign of GOP concerns about Trump’s proposal, 55 conservative groups wrote a letter on Wednesday calling for the proposal to be withdrawn, warning of “price controls.”