Cummings uses Trump drug-price meeting to push Medicare negotiation plan

Rep. Elijah Cummings. AP

Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) met privately for about an hour with Trump and his newly appointed HHS secretary, Tom Price, to discuss ways to combat high drug prices. "That four years is a long time", Cummings said.

Cummings said Trump was "enthusiastic, and he was clearly aware of the problem, and. he made it clear to us that he wanted to do something about it".

The two had been at odds after Trump accused Cummings of cancelling a scheduled meeting because it would be "bad politics" to be seen with the president.

On Tuesday, as House Republicans were working to consolidate support for their health care replacement plan, Trump tweeted, "I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry".

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Cummings replied in a statement, " I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today". Cummings said he also addressed the president's allegations of massive voter fraud in the November election, telling Trump the president can not investigate voter fraud without tackling the real issue of voter suppression, which has penetrated many communities unjustly.

The lawmakers said that if Trump has deleted tweets that aren't archived then it could be a violation of the 1978 law.

"More and more people are saying they can not afford the price of their prescription drugs", he said.

The statement did not mention Cummings' comments about Trump's language regarding African-American communities or voting.

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Cummings, a longtime resident of Baltimore, said he urged the president to acknowledge that not all African-American-majority neighborhoods are "places of depression [and] where people are being harmed".

"But hopefully, we will get to the bottom of this", Cummings said.

The two are set to meet on Wednesday and the issue at hand will be prescription drug prices. "We called, called, called, called", he said. "You know, he talks about this voting fraud which is nonexistent, but he doesn't talk about all of the millions of people who have been denied their right to vote because of suppression".

Trump met with pharmaceutical executives in January and told them, "We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons".

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