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Biden’s 2023 Health Priorities

State of the Union focuses on Medicare, insurance, prescription drugs

February 08, 2023

America’s post-pandemic health care system will be up for debate in Washington during 2023.

On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address featured a heavy health care focus, including the future of Medicare, access to health insurance subsidies, and the cost of prescription drugs.

In his speech to Congress, Biden outlined his key priorities, and America’s transition from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“As we gather here tonight, we are writing the next chapter in the great American story, a story of progress and resilience,” Biden said in prepared remarks.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Medicare’s future:  The future of the Medicare and Social Security programs has been brought up for debate as lawmakers discuss plans to raise the debt ceiling. Biden said he opposed proposals that would allow the safety net programs to sunset every five years.
    • “Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors. Americans have to pay into them from the very first paycheck they’ve started,” Biden said. “So, tonight, let’s all agree—and we apparently are—let’s stand up for seniors.” 
  • Insurance:  Biden called for the extension of health insurance subsidies that have made coverage more affordable for people buying plans on state and federal marketplaces. The subsidies through the Inflation Reduction Act are set to expire during 2025.
  • Prescription drug costs:  The Inflation Reduction Act capped the price of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries at $35 per month. Biden has said he would like to see the price capped at $35 for all coverage plans.
    • This year, Medicare unveiled the timeline for its drug price negotiation program, which will roll out during 2026.
  • Reproductive health:  Last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson case has led to abortion-related legislation in several states. Biden pledged to veto any bill from Congress that includes a national abortion ban.
  • COVID-19 care:  While COVID-19 deaths are down considerably from previous peaks, the nation must continue to “monitor dozens of variants and support new vaccines and treatments,” Biden said.

A replay of the State of the Union and transcript are available online.

HAP continues to advocate for federal policies and legislation that support Pennsylvania hospitals as they transform the health care system to improve patient care. Learn more about our federal advocacy priorities.

For more information, contact John Myers, vice president, federal advocacy.