In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden on March 1 called on Congress to enact legislation to lower prescription drug prices and also announced a series of actions his administration will take to improve the safety and quality of care in the nation’s nursing homes.
While Biden opened his speech by addressing the war in Ukraine, he spent much of the time outlining his domestic agenda, which includes a number of goals AARP has been fighting for.
As he began to describe his plan to fight inflation, Biden’s first call was to fight the high prices of prescription drugs. “Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it,” the president said. “Drug companies will still do very well. And while we’re at it, let Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.” Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, capping Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs and levying tax penalties on pharmaceutical companies that raise their prices more than the rate of general inflation are the key pillars of AARP’s Fair Rx Prices Now campaign.
Biden also called on Congress to make permanent the savings on Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums included in 2021’s American Rescue Plan, a temporary reprieve he said is helping millions of families save on their health care costs. The benefit that allows all consumers to pay no more than 8.5 percent of their income on ACA health insurance premiums is scheduled to end after this year. For adults ages 50 to 64, these subsidies provide an average savings of over $950 annually.
“AARP is encouraged that President Biden continues to urge Congress to act on our nation’s skyrocketing prescription drug prices,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said after the address. “We urge the Senate to keep their promises to voters and lower drug prices, reduce seniors’ drug costs and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.”