One of Congress's fiercest drug-price critics tried to get Trump on his side at a big meeting today

President Donald Trump met with Reps. Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch, along with Johns Hopkins president Dr. Redonda Miller, on Wednesday to talk about drug pricing.

Coming out of the meeting, Cummings said that Trump was "enthusiastic" about targeting drug prices.

It's a topic the president has brought up many times, most recently in a tweet Tuesday. And at a January news conference, Trump said drugmakers are "getting away with murder," and expressed an interest in negotiating drug prices, something the government isn't allowed to do for Medicare and Medicaid.

Rep. Elijah Cummings
See Gallery
Rep. Elijah Cummings
US Congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Congressman Elijah Cummings (R), D-Maryland, and US Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vermont, speak at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD), House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hold a news conference to call for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol January 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Accusations of Russian computer hacks of Democratic National Committee servers and emails have lead to calls for an investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) visits with Rev. Jesse Jackson during a reception in honor of the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House September 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will be among the guests to help open the museum to the public Saturday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) hold a news conference to discuss ?legislation to lower drug prices and increase access to medications" on Capitol Hill in Washington September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ranking member U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) and chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) chat during a hearing at the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Examining Obama Transparency Failures" in Washington December 9, 2014. Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber apologized on Tuesday for his recent remarks about "the stupidity of the American voter," telling the congressional committee he did not think President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law was passed in a deceptive manner. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH)
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) speaks during a news conference about his former staff, who lost six children of her children in an overnight fire in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks as U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) looks on during a news conference on the demonstrations for Freddie Gray, who died following an arrest by the Baltimore police department, in Baltimore, Maryland April 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) asks questions during "The Security Failures of Benghazi" hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. October 10, 2012. Diplomatic security in Libya was drawn down ahead of last month's fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi and U.S. officials did not have enough protection, the former head of a U.S. security team in Libya told lawmakers on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Congressman Elijah Cummings and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore, on the red carpet at the Congressional Black Caucus 20th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts at Sidney Harman Hall at the Shakespeare Theatre on September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/WireImage)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) gestures while delivering a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R) talks to ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) prior to a hearing before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee July 7, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing 'Oversight of the State Department,' focusing on the FBI's recommendation not to prosecute Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for maintaining a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after receiving the endorsement of Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) during a grassroots event in Baltimore, Maryland on April 10, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

As part of the meeting, Cummings and Welch showed Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price a draft of a new bill, titled "The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017." Cummings said in a release that he asked the president for feedback and support on the bill.

Cummings has been a long-time critic of high drug prices, questioning drugs with high list prices and supporting a bill that would allow for drugs to be imported from Canada.

As it stands right now, the government can't negotiate prices for drugs that are part of Medicare's Part D program. The bill wants to change that.

Here's a summary of the bill:

Allowing Medicare to Negotiate Lower Drug Prices

  • Under current law, the Secretary of HHS is prohibited from negotiating lower drug prices on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries. This is called the "non-interference clause."
  • The bill would strike the non-interference clause and direct the Secretary to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers that participate in Medicare Part D.
  • The bill also would direct the Secretary to establish a formulary to leverage the purchasing power of the government on behalf of Part D plans.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found that merely striking the non- interference clause would have only a "negligible" effect on Medicare spending, but that setting a formulary "could give the Secretary the ability to obtain significant discounts in negotiations with drug manufacturers."
  • The bill would allow Part D plans to use additional benefit design and formulary tools to secure steeper discounts or rebates for beneficiaries.
  • The bill would establish a fallback process if negotiations with drug manufacturers are unsuccessful.
  • The bill would preserve critical protections for patient access by including in any formulary certain categories and classes of drugs that are protected under current law.
  • The bill would also require the inclusion of at least one drug to treat each clinical condition, as identified by the Secretary, and would preserve patient appeals processes for accessing drugs that are not covered by the formulary.

Restoring Low-Income Beneficiary Rebates

  • The bill would restore required drug rebates for low-income beneficiaries that were lost when Medicare Part D was created in 2006.
  • CBO projects that restoring these rebates for brand-name drugs would save taxpayers $145 billion over ten years.
  • Before Part D came into effect, people who were eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid received their drug benefits through Medicaid. After Part D was created, these people began receiving their drug benefits through Medicare.
  • Drug manufacturers that participate in Medicaid are required to provide discounts in the form of rebates back to Medicaid, but there are no similar statutory rebates for Medicare.
  • As a result of shifting the drug benefits for these dual-eligible individuals from Medicaid to Medicare, the pharmaceutical industry received a huge windfall of billions of dollars in rebates it was no longer required to pay.

NOW WATCH: Obama's White House photographer has been trolling Trump on Instagram

See Also:

SEE ALSO: The world's biggest drugmaker just pulled back the curtain on drug pricing

DON'T MISS: Trump is promising big changes at the FDA — here's how drugs are approved today

Read Full Story

From Our Partners