Healthcare

Trump calls for bipartisan bill to ‘dramatically’ lower drug prices

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President Trump on Tuesday called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to “dramatically” lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

“I am calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of dramatically lowering prescription drug prices,” Trump said in his State of the Union address. “Get a bill to my desk, and I will sign it into law without delay.”

Lowering drug prices is seen as a rare area of possible bipartisan action. But the effort has been stalled by partisan disagreements and a range of competing bills. 

Trump in his speech did not explicitly endorse a specific approach, but he did give a nod to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has a bipartisan bill to lower drug prices with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 

“I have been speaking to Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and others in the Congress in order to get something on drug pricing done, and done quickly and properly,” Trump said. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats, though, are pushing for bolder action to lower drug prices, namely a bill that the House passed in December to allow the government to negotiate lower prices. 

Some House Democrats chanted the number for that bill, H.R. 3, at Trump after his remarks. 

Trump supported government negotiation during the 2016 campaign, saying he would “negotiate like crazy,” but has since backed off that pledge, drawing ire from Democrats.

“‘Negotiate like crazy’ must mean ‘not negotiate at all,’” Pelosi said earlier Tuesday.

Even the Grassley-Wyden bill, which does not include negotiation, but does limit some drug price increases in Medicare, has drawn fire from many Senate Republicans who label it “price controls.”

Grassley is banking on Trump’s support to get it moving. 

“The Senate must act soon and the House should be ready to work with the Senate to get this legislation to the president’s desk in the months ahead,” Grassley said in a statement after Trump’s remarks. 

Trump did not mention any executive action on drug prices, despite fears from drug companies leading up to the speech. Trump has proposed lowering some Medicare drug prices by linking prices to those in other countries, but he did not mention whether he would move forward on that proposal in the speech. 

Tags Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Ron Wyden
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