WASHINGTON — The White House has concluded that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is “unworkable” and President Donald Trump will instead support bipartisan legislation in the Senate, a senior White House official said Tuesday.
Despite the House impeachment inquiry , the White House and top aides to the California Democrat have been in regular communication on efforts to curb drug prices, a mutual objective. Prospects for legislation this year appear dim.
The official said that while Trump is not ideologically opposed to Medicare negotiating prices for medicines, Pelosi’s approach can’t be quickly retooled.
Her bill would levy steep taxes on drug makers who refuse to accept a Medicare price keyed to what’s paid in other economically advanced countries. The senior White House official pointed to the lack of Republican support for the Pelosi bill and said it is structured to essentially give Medicare the power to dictate prices.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations.
Trump is instead backing a bipartisan bill from Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. That legislation would for the first time limit what seniors have to pay out of their own pockets for medications. It would also require drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they hike prices beyond the inflation rate. Those ideas are also part of Pelosi’s more ambitious legislation.