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David Nather Mar 10, 2017
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How one Democrat reads Trump's mixed signals on drug prices

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It's getting harder than ever to read President Trump's statements on drug costs. First, he campaigned on negotiating lower prices. Then, at a meeting with drug company executives, he seemed to backtrack and emphasized competition instead. Then, on Wednesday, he met with two House Democrats who want the government to negotiate prices — and they reported that he was back to agreeing with them.

So which is it? I caught one of the Democrats, Rep. Peter Welch, during a break in the 27-hour Obamacare markup yesterday and asked him for his read on Trump's back-and-forth statements. "I think he is back and forth," Welch acknowledged. "That's because there is a lot of resistance to this in the Republican Party." But he's still convinced that Trump not only supported the specific idea Welch and Rep. Elijah Cummings brought to the meeting — letting Medicare negotiate drug prices — but was willing to take the heat from other Republicans over it.

"Who knows" whether Trump will follow through and push for it, Welch said — but he said Trump "gets the politics" of the issue, and "he knows that the people who voted for him think they're getting ripped off."