The occasionally amusing disconnect between the President of the United States and the rest of his party was put on display this afternoon when Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) found themselves at odds over a bill proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for at least 25 and as many as 250 medicines with pharmaceutical companies.
Republicans beholden to the bloodsucking and dope-peddling pharmaceutical industry immediately slammed the proposal, complaining that an industry that made $775 billion in profit in 2015 wouldn’t be able to afford to develop new medicines. On cue, Sen. Mitch McConnell sneered that the bill was dead on arrival and dismissed it as “socialist price controls.”
Trump, on the other hand, apparently hadn’t gotten the memo and took to Twitter to say that it was “great to see!”
Because of my Administration, drug prices are down for the first time in almost 50 years — but the American people need Congress to help. I like Sen. Grassley’s drug pricing bill very much, and it’s great to see Speaker Pelosi’s bill today. Let’s get it done in a bipartisan way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
For what it’s worth, Trump has spoken at length about the need to lower the exorbitant drug prices paid by the American people and if he’s actually willing to work with the House to get this done, we shouldn’t be mad about it — especially if he’s snubbing McConnell at the same time.
The bill itself is, as is sadly to be expected, much less ambitious than progressive activists would have wanted. Complaining that they were cut out from the drafting process entirely, they worry that super expensive drugs for rare conditions will be left out and want to push for more drugs to be covered by the bill. But they’re happy progress is being made at all — and with the Senate as gridlocked as it is, anything that might actually get passed and have some kind of tangible benefit for the American patient has to be considered a win.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.