The White House could be taking the health fight to the Democrats.
President Donald Trump is considering an executive order that would cut the prices of prescription drugs under Medicare and other government programs, Reuters reported Thursday, citing industry sources.
According to the report, the order would tie the prices government programs pay for drugs to the price of the same drugs in other countries.
EXCLUSIVE: U.S. President Donald Trump considering a sweeping executive order that would cut prices on virtually all branded prescription drugs sold to Medicare and other government programs – sources https://t.co/rzcMVMnawh via @mikeerman1 @CarlODonnell26 pic.twitter.com/jYX5yT9tzc
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) July 25, 2019
Health care and the cost of prescription drugs are a perennial issue in American politics, and one Democrats tend to dominate.
An executive order like the one the Reuters report described would be a way for Trump to go on the offensive on the issue, but it likely would run counter to conservative opposition to government intervention in markets.
The Reuters report also makes a point of saying it’s unclear whether the executive order is ever going to happen.
“Executive orders often go through various drafts and incarnations, and sometimes competing versions of the same order are floated within the Trump White House. In addition, some executive orders do not end up being signed,” the report said.
The sources Reuters cited said the White House could be waiting to see how a bill proposed by Sens. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican, and Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, fares.
The two men are the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, so they have considerable power in the chamber.
A committee vote on the bill is expected Thursday, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported Wednesday.
However, Trump has expressed his own interest in taking action on prescription drugs.
Earlier this month, according to a Fox Business report, he told reporters at a news conference that he wanted a system in which the U.S. government paid the same for prescription drugs in its medical programs as other governments.
“Why should other nations like Canada — why should other nations pay much less than us?” Trump asked.
“They’ve taken advantage of the system for a long time, pharma,” he said.
The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment on the potential executive order, Reuters reported.
But if it takes place, it will open up a new front in a battle that Democrats consider to be their turf.
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