Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices

Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices
© Greg Nash

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBrindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat MORE (D-Md.) met with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Tuesday to discuss bipartisan ways to work together to lower drug prices.

“He pledged that he wants to work with me,” Cummings told reporters after the meeting. “We have similar goals but the main goal is bringing down the price of drugs. We agreed that we would do everything we could to work together.”

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Lowering drug prices is a potential area of bipartisan agreement in Congress as both Democrats and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE have railed against drug companies for their high prices. Still, finding agreement on specific legislation has been difficult.

Cummings did not name any specific legislation that the two agreed on in the meeting.

“He's aware of our legislation,” Cummings said. “We are headed for the same goals, but not necessarily the exact same legislation, so I've got to tell you I came out of the meeting feeling hopeful that this is something that we can do on a bipartisan basis.”

Cummings, along with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (I-Vt.) and other Democrats introduced sweeping legislation to lower drug prices last week, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and importing drugs from abroad.

Trump has expressed support for both of those ideas in the past, in a break from the usual Republican position, but his administration does not currently support them, to the frustration of many Democrats.

Cummings said he did not specifically ask Azar to support the legislation he unveiled last week. “We share the same goal so that was good enough for me,” Cummings said.

“Secretary Azar and the Trump Administration appreciate Chairman Cummings’s leadership in calling attention to the issue of skyrocketing drug costs,” said Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for Azar. “The Administration is committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to accomplish what was set forth in the President’s blueprint on drug prices, to make sure Americans see lower prices and reduced out-of-pocket costs.”