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COVERAGE: “Let’s Finish the Job”: President Biden’s State of the Union Address Zeroed in on Health Care

By February 8, 2023No Comments

Last night, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address to the nation. During his speech, President Biden made clear he is committed to protecting vital programs — including Medicare and Social Security — from Republican attacks. He also called on Congress to make lower health care premiums permanent, expand the $35 monthly insulin cap, close the Medicaid coverage gap for the remaining states, and extend Medicare solvency for over two decades. Coverage made clear that lowering health costs and improving remains a top priority for 2023. 

Read Protect Our Care’s 2023 agenda here


The Wall Street Journal: Biden Calls For Insulin Cap, Praises Medicare Drug Negotiation. President Biden called for expanding a $35 monthly cap on out-of-pocket costs for insulin and criticized Republicans for wanting to repeal parts of legislation that will let Medicare negotiate some drug prices. … “One in 10 Americans has diabetes. Every day, millions need insulin to control their diabetes so they can stay alive,” Mr. Biden said. “Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars – four to five hundred dollars a month – and making record profits. Not any more. Not any more.” He also praised one of this administration’s biggest accomplishments on drug pricing: Legislation empowering Medicare for the first time to negotiate with drug makers over some prices. [The Wall Street Journal, 2/7/23]

Politico: “The Time For Talking About The Health Care Problems That Occupy Voters’ Minds — Like Reducing Health Care Costs — Has Arrived.” . “President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night made one thing clear as we inch closer to election season: The time for lingering on the messy details of the pandemic is over, and the time for talking about the health care problems that occupy voters’ minds — like reducing health care costs — has arrived… As expected, Biden called for a universal $35 insulin price cap for all Americans… Biden reiterated calls to fill the Medicaid coverage gap for the roughly 2 million people living in the 11 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under Obamacare… The president pledged that neither Medicare nor Social Security would be cut and he would veto attempts to slash them. He also said he planned to extend the Medicare Trust Fund by at least two decades.” [Politico, 2/8/23]

USA Today: Biden Wants Insulin Cost Cap Of $35 A Month For All Americans. Biden on Tuesday mentioned how the person who discovered insulin didn’t patent so that it would be available to everyone. Canadian scientist Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1921. Scientists treated the first diabetic patient in 1922 and sold the patent to the University of Toronto for 3 Canadian dollars. The university administered the patent and received royalty payments from drug companies that sold human insulin. [USA Today, 2/7/23]

The Washington Post: Biden’s Medicare Comments Sparked Fireworks, Even As He Used His Speech To Outline Areas Of Health-Care Cooperation. “The most acrimonious moment in last night’s State of the Union address came when President Biden said some Republican proposals would sunset Medicare and Social Security – and loud protests erupted inside the House chamber… It led to a perplexing moment that ended with Biden ad-libbing, ‘“I enjoy conversion,’” to suggest some Republicans had changed their position. Most of the chamber then stood up and clapped when Biden said,’ “So tonight, let’s all agree — and apparently we are — and stand up for seniors….We will not cut Social Security! We will not cut Medicare!’”” [The Washington Post, 2/8/23]

Healthcare Finance News: Biden Touted The Strides His Administration Has Made In Health Care, Such As Capping Out-Of-Pocket Insulin Costs At $35 For Medicare Beneficiaries Through Passage Of The Inflation Reduction Act . “Biden touted the strides his administration has made in health care, such as capping out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 for Medicare beneficiaries through passage of the Inflation Reduction Act… ‘This law also caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at a maximum $2,000 per year when there are in fact many drugs, like expensive cancer drugs, that can cost up to $10,000, $12,000 and $14,000 a year,’ he said. ‘If drug prices rise faster than inflation, drug companies will have to pay Medicare back the difference. And we’re finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Bringing down prescription drug costs doesn’t just save seniors money. It will cut the federal deficit, saving taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars on the prescription drugs the government buys for Medicare. Why wouldn’t we want to do that?’” [Healthcare Finance News, 2/8/23]

Kaiser Health News: Health Policies Were A Prominent Theme In Biden’s State Of The Union Speech. “President Joe Biden on Tuesday delivered his State of the Union address to a politically divided Congress for the first time, calling for permanent fixes on policy priorities like unaffordable health costs… Biden also took victory laps, some of which focused on health care initiatives. He talked about the savings to people and to the federal government that would result from allowing Medicare to negotiate what it pays for prescription medicines… He dedicated an estimated four minutes to his efforts to hold down health care costs — namely prescription drug prices — and pointed a finger directly at Big Pharma.”.” [KHN, 2/8/23]