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For Negotiation

US President Joe Biden is asking lawmakers to pass legislation that would enable Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with companies, the Washington Post reports.

It notes that the 2003 law that established the agency's drug benefit program prevents Medicare from conducting such direct negotiations. The Post adds that Biden in his remarks at the White House said he is also seeking a measure that would penalize drugmakers for raising their prices faster than inflation as well as a limit to the amount Medicare beneficiaries pay out of pocket each year on drugs. Biden additionally said he favors speeding the development of generic drugs, the Post reports.

"There aren't a lot of things that almost every American could agree on," Biden said at the White House, according to the New York Times. "But I think it is safe to say that all of us, whatever our background or our age and where we live, could agree that prescription drug prices are outrageously expensive in America."

The Times notes that lowering drug prices is popular among voters, but that the trade group PhRMA says the idea is "misguided."