President Trump promised in 2016 that he would do great things to lower drug prices for senior citizens and all Americans. He promised “on day one,” yadda yadda, my welfare state (for my cult followers, anyway, wink wink) is going to be the greatest welfare state. Cheaper stuff for everybody wearing a MAGA hat and making the secret handshake. Sorry, suckers, and in fact everybody on Medicare, whether we supported Trump or not. Drug company stocks, including Novartis, went down briefly today before the Rose Garden drug price speech, and then, ta-da, up they went during and after the speech. And why wouldn’t drug stocks go up, because Trump did not do the one thing that would most likely push drug prices down, which is to let CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) negotiate prices with drug companies. CMS isn’t the only buyer of drugs, but they are so huge that they could be the market leader, the quasi-monopsony buyer with power to get prices down across the board. The current law, signed by George W. Bush, provided a benefit to senior citizens, but at an unnecessarily high cost. I would like to be surprised, but I do not see much yet in what HHS Secretary Azar or Trump said that would actually push drug prices down. Regulatory capture–aka the Swamp–is alive and well in Trump’s Washington.