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Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices
Democrats on Thursday unveiled a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, a key part of their agenda to lower pharmaceutical costs.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is considering a presidential run, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, led the announcement at a press conference on Thursday.
"What we're really doing today is just calling on President Trump to listen to candidate Trump," Doggett said, pointing out that Trump supported Medicare negotiating drug prices in 2016 before backing off the idea.
While the odds are long the measure can get through the GOP-controlled Senate, Brown said he hoped a strong vote in the House would "put the pressure on [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell."
Other lawmakers said they hoped that if Trump came out in support of the bill, it would also pressure Senate Republicans.
Trump has put forward other ideas on drug pricing, some of which have received some Democratic support but that Democrats generally say do not go far enough.
Doggett said that, even in the House, the path forward for the bill remains unclear, given that committees are just beginning to hold hearings on the drug-pricing issue and there are multiple different bills on the topic.
Lowering drug prices was a key issue in last year's campaign, and several newly elected Democrats, including Reps. Katie Porter (Calif.) and Andy Kim (N.J.), touted the bill at the press conference Thursday.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) recalled his meeting with Trump in 2017 to discuss drug prices, saying the president expressed support for drug price negotiation in that meeting but never followed up.
"He said all the right things," Welch said. "I thought I was meeting with [Sen.] Bernie Sanders."