Trump prods Congress to pass bipartisan drug-pricing reform but offers no specifics

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump called for a bipartisan bill to tackle high drug prices during the State of the Union Tuesday. (C-SPAN)

President Donald Trump called for Congress to pass legislation this year to tackle high drug prices, noting during the State of the Union Tuesday he will sign such a bill “without delay.”

Trump said during the speech that he has been in talks with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, “in order to get something on drug pricing done, and done properly.”

Trump did not specify what policy proposals he wants to bring prices down.

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Grassley spearheaded a bill in the Senate last year alongside Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, that would put an inflationary cap on Part D drug price hikes. But the bill barely got out of the Senate Finance Committee last year amid strong pushback from Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not brought the bill to the Senate floor, and Grassley recently told FierceHealthcare a major sticking point is Republican opposition.

Trump’s comments could prod more GOP support.

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

During this section of Trump’s remarks, House Democrats were heard chanting “H.R.3” a reference to legislation championed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices.

The legislation passed the House, but it has been lambasted by GOP Senate leadership and is highly unlikely to be brought up.