Cummings, Trump to discuss lowering prescription drug prices

Cummings Trump commits to strong push for Medicare drug price negotiation

Along with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont), Cummings presented Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price with a proposal that would allow Medicare to better negotiate drug prices.

"President Trump gets it on the issue of getting a good price", Welch told reporters after the meeting.

Cummings said, however, he also used his visit to address issues he feels are important to African Americans.

A meeting with top pharma executives in late January appeared to focus more on bringing manufacturing and jobs back to the USA, and lowering regulations than it did direct price negotiation - although Trump did say drug prices have been "astronomical". "It's bad politics and that's part of the problem in this country", Trump said. That's why Cummings was surprised when Trump accused him of backing out of the meeting during his recent surprise news conference.

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"Right now, we've got Medicare paying sometimes 70 percent more than the VA or Medicaid", Cummings said.

In a subsequent summary issued Wednesday evening, the White House said the meeting stemmed from a "desire to work with Congressman Cummings in a bipartisan fashion to ensure prescription drug prices are more affordable for all Americans, especially those who need lifesaving prescription medications".

Cummings responded that Trump had made up that story.

In a much-cited but now decade-old letter to Congress, the Congressional Budget Office estimated giving HHS authority to negotiate prices alone would have only a "negligible effect on Medicare drug spending".

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On the subject of voting, Cummings continued, "I told him I thought that voter fraud was all but non-existent". Now they may have a surprising new ally: President Donald Trump.

"T$3 he thing we do know is a problem is voter suppression and that you can't have any reasonable investigation of voting in the USA unless you deal with that issue", Cummings said.

And, Welch said, "the price is starting to kill us, we just can't afford it".

"It boiled down to, again, saving people's lives and saving money, and he was clear when you have situations where these companies are jacking up these prices it puts a lot of families in jeopardy".

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