Biden Calls on Congress to Expand Medicare, Make Affordable Care Act Permanent

President touts law capping insulin costs as first step in saving consumers, government money
By Michael Clements
Michael Clements
Michael Clements
Michael Clements focuses mainly on the Second Amendment and individual rights for The Epoch Times. He has more than 30 years of experience in print journalism, having worked at newspapers in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. He is based in Durant, Oklahoma.
February 7, 2023Updated: February 7, 2023

During his second State of the Union address, President Joe Biden touted The Affordable Insulin Now Act capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month for seniors, called on Congress to expand Medicare to cover everyone, and to make the Affordable Care Act permanent.

“Let’s finish the job and make (health care) benefits permanent. Let’s expand Medicare for everyone,” Biden said.

According to Biden, drug companies pay between $10 to $13 to manufacture and package insulin. The companies, on average, charged more than $98 per vial. Biden said such markups are common in the American health care industry.

“We pay more for prescription drugs than any nation on the earth,” Biden said.

Epoch Times Photo
A man holds up a Humalog Insulin injection pen in Irvine, Calif., on March 24, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The Act took effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the cost is capped at $35 or 25 percent of the drug’s negotiated price under Medicare. The plan also limits the total out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions for seniors. Biden said the plan would save consumers money and reduce the deficit without hurting businesses.

“Big Pharma will continue to do well,” the president said.

Biden told the joint session of Congress that money saved by seniors is money Medicare doesn’t have to pay out, which is money the government saves. Biden said Medicare should be expanded to cover everyone so that all prescription drugs are covered.

“That’s a lot of savings for the federal government,” Biden said.

Veto Promised

He warned members of Congress who may call for the repeal of the Inflation Reduction Act. But, he said to do that would also do away with the savings benefits of raising the costs of prescription drugs.

“If you try to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it,” Biden said.

He also called on Congress to keep health insurance coverage for 16 million Americans under the Affordable Care Act, which expires in 2025.

“Let’s finish the job and make these benefits permanent,” Biden said.