Biden promotes health care proposals in reconciliation package on Medicare, Medicaid anniversaries

President Biden emphasized the provisions on health care in the health, climate and tax package that is set for a Senate vote in a statement recognizing the 57th anniversaries of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. 

Biden said in the statement that the legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, will maintain the eligibility improvements to the Affordable Care Act that were included in the American Rescue Plan, which saved 13 million Americans an average of $800 per year on health insurance premiums, according to the statement. He said the act will also protect 3 million Americans from becoming uninsured. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached an agreement Wednesday on a bill that would allow Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices and cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year. It would also invest $369 billion in climate programs over 10 years and $300 billion in deficit reduction. 

Biden said allowing Medicare to negotiate will lower costs for potentially millions of senior citizens and capping drug costs at $2,000 will save Medicare beneficiaries with cancer and other chronic illnesses thousands of dollars per year. 

“For decades, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for this – and we are poised to come together and get it done,” he said. 

Biden said he and congressional Democrats are fighting to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health insurance to senior citizens and low-income Americans, respectively. 

According to Biden, nearly 140 million Americans benefit from the programs. 

President Lyndon Johnson created Medicare and Medicaid as part of the Social Security Amendments of 1965. Almost 20 million Americans enrolled in the programs in their first three years, according to the National Archives.