Speed Reads

2020 state of the union

Here's why Democrats were chanting 'HR 3' during the State of the Union

During the State of the Union on Tuesday night, President Trump said his administration is "taking on the big pharmaceutical companies," and by working together, "the Congress can reduce drug prices substantially from current levels."

Trump announced he has been talking with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about a way to "get something on drug pricing done, and done properly. I am calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of dramatically lowering prescription drug prices. Get a bill to my desk and I will sign it into law without delay."

House Democrats quickly responded by getting to their feet, holding up three fingers, and chanting, "H.R. 3! H.R. 3!" H.R. 3 is the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, named in honor of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). The measure requires Medicare to negotiate for lower prices on insulin and other life-saving medicines, and was passed by the House in December. Now, the bill is sitting in the Senate.

Trump also said he is committed to offering "affordable" and "high-quality" health care, and made a bold promise to "always protect patients with pre-existing conditions." Trump tried in Congress, and his government is still trying in court, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which prevents health insurance plans from charging people with medical conditions higher prices. Trump tweeted a similar claim last month, which was "part fantasy, part delusion, part politics, and all lie," Prof. Jonathan Oberlander of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill told PolitiFact. "The president is lying about pre-existing conditions. He supported, and continues to support, efforts to repeal the ACA that would take those consumer protections away."