Trump attacks bill to lower drug prices that he praised only weeks ago


Trump had previously praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill, which Mitch McConnell vowed to block.

Donald Trump attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority on Friday as "Do Nothing" for offering a bill to lower drug prices. But back in September, he praised the bill and a bipartisan Senate proposal.

While declaring that he and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will "soon release a plan to let Florida and other States import prescription drugs that are MUCH CHEAPER than what we have now," Trump dismissed the efforts of Reps. Pelosi (D-CA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to address the problem by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies on several of the most expensive medications, claiming "Pelosi and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn’t do the trick. FEWER cures! FEWER treatments!"

The House bill was endorsed in committee last month and is awaiting a vote in the full House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block it from a vote — as he has with more than 400 other House-passed bills this year.

Trump's comments are especially odd given that back in September, he embraced Pelosi's proposal and a bipartisan Senate bill, proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). "I like Sen. Grassley's drug pricing bill very much, and it's great to see Speaker Pelosi's bill today," he said then. "Let's get it done in a bipartisan way."

Now, Trump is praising House Republicans for "showing real LEADERSHIP" and being "prepared to enact bipartisan solutions for drug prices," while claiming "Do Nothing Democrats are playing partisan politics with YOUR drug prices!" But it is unclear how passing a prescription drug bill is doing nothing — or what House Republicans have done on the issue, aside from inaccurately opposing Pelosi's bill as "Socialism." The issue is not featured on the House Republicans' website and the GOP leader has not proposed an alternative.

Trump's criticism of the Pelosi approach closely echoes the opposition from the pharmaceutical industry. Because lower prices would mean smaller profits for pharmaceutical companies, they claim that this will mean drug companies will spend less on researching and developing new treatments and cures.

But back as a candidate, Trump actually backed allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, suggesting this would "save $300 billion" annually. "We don't do it. Why? Because of the drug companies."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.