Biden pushing lower prescription drug costs in midterm press

Oct 14, 2022, 2:18 AM | Updated: Oct 15, 2022, 3:06 pm
President Joe Biden speaks about lowering costs for American families at Irvine Valley Community Co...

President Joe Biden speaks about lowering costs for American families at Irvine Valley Community College, in Irvine, Calif., Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

IRVINE, California (AP) — President Joe Biden is highlighting his administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs on Friday as part of his three-state Western tour this week, as he confronts a sobering inflation report in the waning weeks before midterm elections.

Biden visited a community college in Irvine, California, to meet with older adults and tout his administration’s efforts to reduce inflation and drive down costs. The trip comes on the heels of an announcement that millions of Social Security recipients will get an 8.7% boost in their benefits in 2023, a historic increase but a gain that will be eaten up in part by the rising cost of everyday living.

Biden said that still, seniors “are going to get ahead of inflation next year. For the first time in 10 years Social Security checks are going to go up while Medicare premiums go down.”

“It’s a big deal for seniors,” he added.

Despite the president’s efforts, inflation is rising, and Republicans are capitalizing on higher prices, seeing openings in California and elsewhere to potentially pick up U.S. House seats. The president will also travel to Oregon before heading back East as the usually Democratic-leaning governor’s race closes with an independent splitting votes.

Consumer prices, excluding volatile food and energy costs, jumped 6.6% in September from a year ago — the fastest pace in four decades. And on a month-to-month basis, such “core” prices soared 0.6% for a second straight time, defying expectations for a slowdown and signaling that the Fed’s multiple rate hikes have yet to ease inflation pressures. Core prices typically provide a clearer picture of underlying price trends.

Biden acknowledged the issue on Thursday, saying that “Americans are squeezed by the cost of living. It’s been true for years, and folks don’t need a report to tell them they’re being squeezed.”

He also returned to a metaphor he used often during his first year in office, talking about issues that Americans talk about around the “kitchen table,” touting his administration’s efforts to lower costs even as inflation rises.

“From prescription drugs, to health insurance, to energy bills, and so much more,” he said. “We’re standing up for working people and their right to get a raise and get a better job.”

Biden also signed an executive order that will direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to look for additional ways to lower drug costs.

The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law earlier this year already requires that Medicare begin bargaining over the price of a handful of drugs starting next year. The agency is fine-tuning how that process will work, hiring new employees for a drug pricing division and is expected to pick the first 10 drugs that will be negotiated in 2023.

The new law will lower drug costs for the 49 million people on Medicare in a number of other ways that have been less controversial. It makes vaccines free, caps monthly out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35, and limits out-of-pocket drug expenses at $2,000 starting in 2025.

“We took on big pharma and we beat them, finally,” Biden said, but called on Congress to go even further to bring insulin prices down for all Americans, not just those on Medicare.

“Imagine being a parent, imagine not having enough insurance, not being able to afford it, and looking at your son and daughter and know if they can’t get the insulin they could be permanently scarred” and die, Biden added.

Any additional proposals to curb the cost of drug prices are likely to be met with resistance.

That newly-acquired power to negotiate drug prices is controversial, with the powerful pharmaceutical industry lobbying against the rule and considering legal actions to prevent its implementation. Republicans have already proposed legislation that would strip Medicare’s negotiation ability before the haggling has even begun.

Starting next year, drug companies will also have to pay penalties to Medicare if they raise the cost of their products at a rate that outpaces inflation.

Biden also used the opportunity to provide a boost to Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, who is facing a close re-election fight this year. He praised the lawmaker as a “fighter,” adding that, “No drug company wants to testify in congress before Katie.”

Biden added, “she is incredible at what she does.”

___

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Amanda Seitz contributed to this report from Washington.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Ozzy Osbourne arrives at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Jan. 26, 202...
Associated Press

Ozzy Osbourne cancels 2023 European tour dates, cites injury

Hard rock legend Ozzy Osbourne announced the cancellation of his 2023 tour dates in the U.K. and continental Europe. Osbourne issued a statement early Wednesday saying damage to his spine suffered in an accident four years ago will prevent him from touring. “I am honestly humbled by the way you’ve all patiently held onto your […]
2 hours ago
A view of a placard as ambulance workers stand on the picket line outside Leeds Ambulance Station i...
Associated Press

Day of disruption in UK as thousands join mass walkout

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of schools in the U.K. are closing some or all of their classrooms, train services will be paralyzed and delays are expected at airports Wednesday in what’s shaping up to be the biggest day of industrial action Britain has seen in more than a decade, as unions step up pressure on […]
2 hours ago
Currency traders watch computer monitors at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, ...
Associated Press

Asian stocks higher ahead of Fed rate decision

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were higher Wednesday after Wall Street rose ahead of what traders hope will be the last Federal Reserve interest rate hike for some time. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. U.S. futures declined. Oil prices gained. Traders assume the Fed will announce a rate hike of 0.25 percentage […]
1 day ago
FILE - Abortion-rights protesters project messages to a building during an event sponsored by Susan...
Associated Press

Anti-abortion activists aim to sway GOP White House hopefuls

CHICAGO (AP) — Emboldened anti-abortion activists are looking to the 2024 presidential election as an opportunity to solidify their influence over the Republican Party. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, the most influential group in the anti-abortion movement, is telling each potential GOP presidential hopeful that to win its backing — or avoid being a target […]
1 day ago
FILE - Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022...
Associated Press

Powell likely to stress Fed’s inflation fight far from over

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is cooling, and parts of the economy appear to be weakening. But Chair Jerome Powell is likely Wednesday to underscore that the Federal Reserve’s primary focus remains the need to fight surging prices with still-higher interest rates. With financial markets anticipating that the Fed will stop raising rates soon and possibly […]
1 day ago
Containers are seen at the country's largest port, in Busan, South Korea, on Jan. 10, 2023. South K...
Associated Press

South Korea logs record trade deficit as tech demand falls

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea logged its biggest monthly trade deficit ever, at $12.7 billion in January, as exports of computer chips and other high-tech items sank and costs for importing oil and gas surged, the trade ministry said Wednesday. The growing shortfall underscored how Russia’s war on Ukraine is straining the global […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Biden pushing lower prescription drug costs in midterm press