Delaney talks prescription drug prices

Fields questions during FD?lunch stop at Amigos

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney campaigns in Fort Dodge ahead of the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus. Delaney hosted a meet and greet over lunch at Amigos on Tuesday.

Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, a Democratic presidential candidate, offered his views on prescription drug prices and higher education costs during a stop in Fort Dodge for lunch Tuesday at Amigos Bar and Restaurant.

Meeting with about two dozen local voters, Delaney had a somewhat informal question-and-answer session after being introduced by Webster County Supervisor and Amigos owner Mark Campbell.

At the lunch, one voter shared her concern about the rising costs of her prescription drugs and asked what Delaney plans to do about prescription drug prices.

“If you go to Germany and buy that exact same drug, that exact same drug in Germany would cost one-third of what it costs in the United States,” Delaney said. “And some people say, ‘Why is that?’ … Because in Germany, just like in France, just like in pretty much every other country in the world, the government has one person who negotiates the prices of the drugs. … We don’t do that here.”

Delaney called the pharmaceutical industry a global industry, and said it needs to be treated as a trade issue with other countries. He said that while the globe’s wealthier nations should negotiate fairer prescription drug prices, the more impoverished countries should be able to pay even lower prices for prescription drugs.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Former Congressman John Delaney, D-Maryland, speaks with voters during a meet and greet at Amigos on Tuesday during lunch. Delaney was the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for president, announcing in July 2017.

“I think we need to form a global coalition of the wealthy countries, where we negotiate these prices, which will bring the prices down and allow Medicare to negotiate prices,” he said.

Delaney was asked about the student debt crisis and making higher education more accessible for more people.

He said that while he doesn’t favor other candidates’ plans to make all college tuition-free, or to completely forgive all student loans, he does have plans to address those concerns.

When it comes to existing student loans, he said he would like more programs that provide loan forgiveness to graduates with certain degrees who go to work in areas with great need for those skills.

Delaney also wants to make community college educations tuition-free, as well as career and technical training. Four-year degrees, however, aren’t included in this plan.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Former Congressman John Delaney, back, listens to questions from voters attending a campaign meet and greet at Amigos on Tuesday afternoon. The event was an informal and intimate question and answer session over lunch.

Delaney said there has been “too much focus” on degrees and “not enough” on skills.

“What really matters in the future is skills, not degrees,” he said. “I have nothing against four-year degrees.”

Toward the end of the lunch, Delaney was asked what is the key to beating President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.

“Putting someone who will run in the center, who can win those voters that can go either way,” he said. “Someone who can unify the country, kind of dial the noise down a little bit and actually start solving the problems. That’s the person that beats Donald Trump. That’s what I’m running on.”

Sarah Small, a former precinct captain for the Kamala Harris campaign, attended Delaney’s event on Tuesday. She said she enjoyed the casual back-and-forth, question-and-answer format, and his honesty with his answers.

“There were a couple of times where he was like, ‘It’s complicated; I don’t have the right answer,'” she said. “And I think a good leader acknowledges when they don’t have all the answers when it’s very complicated and there isn’t necessarily a right way to go about it.”

With less than two weeks until the Iowa Democratic Caucus, Delaney is polling at 0% in every major poll of Iowa likely caucusgoers. The former congressman said his goal for caucus night is to do better than people expect.

“This has never been about me,” he said. “This is about making a difference and this is about my ideas and the things I’ve focused on, which I think have been unique. And I really believe in my heart what I’m saying here. … So if I do better on caucus night, it’s going to be because of these kinds of people here.”

Before he left for his next campaign event, Delaney had one last request for the voters at the event.

“I really want you to caucus for me,” he said. “Not just because I’m the right person for the job, not just because I have the right skills and was successful in business, I was successful in government, I come from a blue collar family, I was the first in my family to go to college. But also because I think I’m really focused on the issues that matter to your communities. Someone’s got to send a message to the Democratic Party that we can’t just be a party of the coasts.”


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