The Big Story
Biden pushes health care fixes ahead of speech
The White House is going on offense against House Republicans’ potential changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ahead of President Biden‘s State of the Union address Tuesday.
The administration’s latest salvo came Monday evening, blasting two GOP bills that would create panels to study the solvency of Social Security and Medicare. In a nod to the ObamaCare fights, the White House said the bills would create “death panels.”
“They’re opening the week unveiling their latest in a long line of ultimatums about how they’ll act to kill jobs, businesses, and retirement accounts if they can’t cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. Meanwhile, they’re voting to worsen the deficit with tax welfare for the rich and big corporations,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
The dispute comes in the context of the ongoing debt ceiling debate. Republicans have publicly said they want to make spending cuts, but there’s a major divide on what they actually want to cut. Medicare and Social Security are off the table, according to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), but members say the programs will need reforms to be sustainable in the long term. So proposals like raising the eligibility age or means testing applicants could have some value, depending on which members you ask.
The White House is eager to throw all this back at Republicans, and contrast it with Biden’s legislative accomplishments.
In his speech on Tuesday, we expect the president to emphasize how he will push to protect Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and ObamaCare. According to a White House fact sheet, he will also call on Congress to extend a price cap on insulin to all Americans, rather than just those with Medicare.
The Inflation Reduction Act included a $35-per-month limit on insulin that took effect in January. Democrats initially wanted that policy to extend to private insurance too, but the effort was scaled back when Republicans successfully challenged its inclusion in the bill.
Biden is also going to tout Medicare’s new ability to negotiate prices of certain drugs, as well as bipartisan legislation making hearing aids available over the counter.
Welcome to The Hill’s Health Care newsletter, complete with a fresh new look. We’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi — every week we follow the latest moves on how Washington impacts your health.
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You’re all caught up. See you tomorrow!