Key Healthcare Takeaways from Biden’s First Joint Address to Congress
President Joe Biden delivered his first joint address to Congress on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, with a masked and socially distanced crowd visual history of this address will reflect the pandemic. He outlined his vision for the country and spoke to what he sees as his administration's initial accomplishments as he approached 100 days in office. Biden told Congress that it must "prove [it] can deliver for the people."
Members of his party looked for him to address health care as a priority during the speech. His recent proposals lack a Medicare expansion and other healthcare initiatives pushed by several key Democrats. But he made a push Wednesday night for increasing Medicare's power to negotiate drug prices. The key takeaways from his speech are:
Drug Pricing: Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to all Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription medicines and expand Medicare by lowering eligibility age. However, Biden did not include those proposals in the economic package he touts will help American families. Biden’s proposal included childcare, paid family leave, medical leave, and free college education. Democrats in the House have reintroduced legislation recently to give Medicare that power and require private plans to adopt the lower prices.
Subsidies for Affordable Care Act: The American Rescue Plan Act that Congress passed earlier this year includes generous subsidy boosts for the ACA that expire within two years. Biden’s major $1.8 trillion family and childcare package he introduced Wednesday included money to make permanent a boost to Affordable Care Act subsidies. Biden also called for lowering deductibles for working families on the Affordable Care Act.
New Healthcare Research Facility: Biden called for new investments to create an agency with the National Institutes of Health called Advanced Research Projects Agency for health. It would be modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The primary focus of the new agency would be treatments for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.