President Joe Biden’s first joint address before Congress on Wednesday featured an ambitious agenda that includes several healthcare items including lowering drug prices and further boosting the Affordable Care Act.
It remains unclear what chances these proposals could get through Congress as Democrats control a narrow majority in the House and Senate.
Here are several healthcare takeaways from Biden’s address:
Let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices
Biden said last night that he wants to give Medicare “the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs. That won’t just help people on Medicare — it will lower prescription drug costs for everyone.”
Biden said that the money saved can go to strengthen the ACA and expand Medicare coverage and benefits. “Let’s get it done this year,” he added.
Democrats in the House have reintroduced legislation recently to give Medicare that power and require private plans to adopt the lower prices;
Lowering deductibles for ACA plans
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.
But Biden also called for lowering “deductibles for working families on the Affordable Care Act.” He added that the “law has been a lifeline for millions of Americans.”
Major investments in research and development
Biden called for new investments in the development of new breakthroughs for cures to ailments such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer. He said that the Defense Department already has an agency called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health should “create a similar Advanced Research Projects Agency for health.”
Biden noted that he can “think of no more worthy investment. And I know of nothing that is more bipartisan. Let’s end cancer as we know it. It’s within our power.”