During the campaign, Donald Trump promised he could save Americans $300 billion every year, a sum larger than the cost of World War Two in today’s dollars, by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers. Republicans say Medicare, the government’s program to cover medical care for older Americans, faces serious financial troubles in coming years.
Today, after a meeting with pharmaceutical lobbyists, Donald Trump reversed his promise to negotiate drug prices. Trump instead announced lower taxes and fewer regulations on the pharmaceutical industry
Here’s his statement announcing the plan.
After telling pharmaceutical industry executives present that “you people are gonna do great, you’re gonna do great,” he promised that he would be “lowering taxes big league” and “getting rid of regulations that are unnecessary, big league.”
Just weeks ago, he told Fox Business that “drug companies are getting away with murder” and “pharma has a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power.”
Today, he acquiesced to them.
Even if Trump hadn’t flip-flopped on that promise, it was a “preposterous” campaign promise, according to The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. They say the federal government spends less than $300 billion on drugs every year, making such savings mathematically impossible.
Not even a year ago, Trump said this in the Feb 18th MSNBC debate (transcript here):
The problem is, we don’t negotiate – we’re the largest drug producer, and – we’re the largest drug buyer in the world. We don’t negotiate. We don’t negotiate […] If we negotiated the price of drugs, Joe, we’d save $300 billion a year. I self-fund, I’m going to do it. These candidates are all controlled by the drug companies, the lumber companies, they’re never going to do that. They’re never going to do it.