Sanders to roll out bill letting Medicare negotiate drug prices
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday said he will introduce legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and called on President-elect Donald Trump to support the proposal.
"If Mr. Trump is serious about taking on Pharma, if Mr. Trump is serious about having Medicare ... negotiate prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry, we are going to have very shortly very significant legislation to do just that," Sanders told reporters.
"I would hope that Mr. Trump would join us and support that legislation."
Trump indicated throughout the campaign that he would support allowing the government to negotiate drug prices and said last week that the pharmaceutical industry is "getting away with murder" because of what it charges the government.
Sanders did not say when he would be introducing his legislation, which is also expected to allow for importing drugs from Canada and other countries.
The Senate rejected an amendment from Sanders and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that supported allowing people to import prescription drugs from Canada.
Twelve Republicans supported Sanders's amendment, but 13 Democrats voted against it.
Sanders said last week he would be speaking with every Democrat who voted against it "to find out their concerns and look forward to them joining us in the future to help make prescription drugs more affordable."
Progressive groups blasted Democrats after the vote. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is up for reelection in 2018 and voted against the amendment, took to Twitter afterward to explain why he voted against it.
Sanders has also been publicly pressing Trump to stand by his campaign pledge to avoid cutting entitlement programs, including Medicare.
He said Tuesday that he read Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) — Trump's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services — a Trump tweet from the campaign bragging that he was the only GOP candidate to pledge he wouldn't meddle with entitlement programs.
"I asked Representative Price whether or not Mr. Trump was going to keep his word on that issue," he told reporters. "He said he can't speak for Mr. Trump but he expected that he will."