Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August

Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August
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A measure lawmakers have been working on for months to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices will not move forward before Congress leaves for the August recess, said a key Democrat involved in the legislation.

“I really wanted to see that done pre-August, and I don't think that's going to be the case,” said Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Health Care: Public's view of drug companies sinks to record low in poll | NYC declares end to measles outbreak | Health advocates fear Planned Parenthood funding loss could worsen STD crisis Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August MORE (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

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Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies is one of House Democrats’ top priorities, but the party has been trying to overcome divisions on how to structure the proposal. Progressive lawmakers are pushing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Trump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Thomas D'Alesandro III, brother of Nancy Pelosi, dies at 90 MORE (D-Calif.) to take what they view as a stronger line against drug companies. 

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data MORE (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that there is no agreement yet on the legislation. 

“The committee's still discussing it,” Hoyer said, later adding, “They have not reached agreement on that so it's doubtful it will be next week.”

Progressive lawmakers are pushing for a mechanism that would strip drug companies of their monopolies if they refused to negotiate a reasonable price with Medicare. Pelosi’s office and key committee leaders have been discussing a different approach to have an outside arbiter step in to set the price if Medicare and the drug company cannot agree. 

“I don’t have any timetable, I just know that we're working on it,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Trump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech platforms MORE (D-N.J.) told reporters last week. 

Progressive groups have been anxious for Democrats to act on one of their top priorities. 

Asked how work is coming on the measure, Eshoo replied, “It's above my paygrade."