Trump asks for bill to lower drug prices in State of the Union address

President Donald Trump gave his annual State of the Union address on Feb. 4, calling on Congress to take on sky-high prescription drug prices.

“I’m calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of dramatically lowering prescription drug prices,” Trump said during the speech. “Get a bill on my desk, and I will sign it into law immediately.”

The Trump administration has often voiced its priority to lower prescription drug prices, yet prices have continued to climb higher annually. The administration has put forth several proposals that aim to lower drug prices, including an international pricing index for Medicare Part B drugs and requiring hospitals to publicly post their negotiated prices.

Trump also noted in his speech that there are currently some bills in Congress that could help bring down drug prices, specifically by Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-IA). Members of Congress also began to chant “H.R. 3,” referring to a bill, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which was introduced in the fall 2019 and was passed by the House before the end of the year. That bill allows the government to negotiate lower prices directly, something Trump has not supported since his 2016 campaign. Grassley’s bill does not include the same negotiation ability for the government but offers other price controls.

Drug prices­­––and healthcare overall––are expected to be big issues for the upcoming 2020 election. While most voters trust Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to healthcare, the Democratic party has been split in its approach to healthcare. Some presidential candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), support Medicare-for-all plans or options. The majority of voters at the Democratic Iowa caucuses this week also leaned more toward eliminating private insurance in favor of a single-payer healthcare system.