Trump introduces new plan to reduce Medicare drug prices

Secretary of Health & Human Services talked with ABC News on new drug cost regulations.
6:49 | 10/25/18

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Transcript for Trump introduces new plan to reduce Medicare drug prices
You guys this doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. And for president terror not only talking murder immigration but he starting to seize health care as a hot topic. He had a big announcement today at the Health and Human Services Department about drug prices something that he's tried to seize on as Democrats have been going on offense on this in the campaign. That's because and Republicans aren't calling while on health care that is something that my sources from internal polls in the White House and external polls show. That the Democrats just hold better on health care our poll show that is also president come. In you know a last minute move it obviously trying to make an appeal to voters that might be on offense showing that he's taking some decisive action. And that decisive action today was a trip to HHS where he announced that the department is now introducing a new regulation which. Will require that drugs administered by doctors at doctors' offices since the cancer medicines. Now be had their prices paid to what is paid overseas by an foreign countries. Right now the United States pays almost double what many foreign countries play for those same drugs to the president introducing an announcing a new regulation. And we asked health and human services secretary Alexei is are just how it's gonna work and what it means for you people. We demand to get the benefit. Of the discounts that pharma companies arm voluntarily giving. To economically comparable countries. Within our Medicare program for these infusion drugs that are some of the highest cost drugs in America. For our patients and Medicare this'll save seventeen billion dollars over five years and patients. Will save 3.4. Billion dollars out of pocket over five years from these changes. And how soon do you expect this to take effect in does it only apply the people who are on Medicare. And so I lost the audio there but I think you're gonna ask how soon will pick will people see the benefit of these changes. What what we're doing now is initiating a rule making process because we want to be open and transparent and get input from everybody about this. And we anticipate that this would take effect at the end of 2019. Or an early 20/20 is when people would start seeing the most immediate benefits. Of these savings now of course pharmacology reduce their prices and a day. Art of course it's an industry that your very familiar with you are former executive with the drug company Eli Lilly. There are with a pretty Sturm response of the president's announcement today they said quote they have serious concerns. With this this being the pharma lobby they see what you are doing amounts to in their words foreign government price controls. And the American system what's your response. Well these hard foreign government price controls in the American system. These are discounts that pharma companies are voluntarily giving to the French to the Germans to the British to the Japanese. And are refusing to give to the American people and I thought net on conch and a bowl we're not even asking to get all the way down to what they're giving to these countries. Over five years it would reduce to be about a 126%. Of what these other countries are being given. By pharma companies so I I don't understand the criticism at all it's an untenable position. A few more questions for you the administration also has done a number of moves on health care lately including. Recently unveiling a new plan to allow some shorter term. Health care plans at cheaper rates for people to buy outside the Obama care marketplace is a number. Of critics of this process CDs are junk plans they don't have to comply with the rules of obamacare like. Guaranteeing protections for preexisting conditions are covered pregnancy. What's your response to that isn't a disservice to people buying some of those short term non compliant plans as it is there. Are they actually getting coverage for what they're paying for their. I think it's a disservice to people to not let them choose the type of insurance that they want to bind that they can afford to buy. We have the Affordable Care Act plans. Those are available there are subsidy programs in place if people want those. But for people who do not get a subsidy who cannot afford the on affordable Obama care plans. The president is bringing other options to the table for them so they can help lower cost options to get some forms of insurance. These short term limited duration plans let's remember were in place the entirety of president Barack Obama's tenure until the last minute. When they were shortened to only three months because they wanted to force people. In to the unaffordable obamacare exchanges we are simply expanding their availability. Out again. And in fact were enhancing. The consumer protection warnings for people as they go into and buy these products. I want to ask you a little bit about some of the consumer protections in place under obamacare hot topic right now preexisting conditions. On the campaign trail the president's talking about at the candidates on both sides are talking about it. As you know there's a lawsuit underway right now by twenty Republican state attorneys general suing to end obamacare declared unconstitutional. Get rid of those protections. Do you support. That lawsuit in do you have a plan. To keep pre existing condition protections if a judge decides that the law is in fact unconstitutional. So the issue in that litigation is a legal question. Whether various provisions are actually unconstitutional. Given the supreme court's rulings on obamacare it is a not. A policy position of the administration or the president be president has been 100%. Clear. He will not sign a repeal and replace packet for Obama care that does not adequately protect individuals who have preexisting conditions. There are many ways to do that. But he will not sign any package that doesn't protect people with preexisting condition. You're making that commitment here. Finally sir before let you go there's been a lot of speculation. Of late that you could be on the president's short list. To replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general I know you've said your very happy in your position there. And certainly don't get ahead of the president but is is attorney general position that you could do see yourself being interested in at some point. I hope you can see from the announcement that I made today with the president United States and Mike commitment on these issues that. I amend my absolute dream job. And just loving every minute of it. All right health and human services secretary Alex is our thank you so much sir for coming on ABC news life. Okay the secretary they're not ruling it out. I worry is that doesn't mean he can't change jobs and we shall see election there on the corner Terry you know that's when the president is expected to that of a shake up and I had there's little.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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