President Joe Biden on Tuesday delivered his State of the Union tackle to a politically divided Congress for the primary time, calling for everlasting fixes on coverage priorities like unaffordable well being prices.
In a single marked distinction from his earlier speeches, attendance within the Home chamber was at capability with no covid-19 limitations in impact. And the lawmakers within the viewers, each supporters and opponents, appeared to be in a raucous temper.
Our companions at PolitiFact fact-checked a wide range of Biden’s statements — starting from Medicare, Social Safety, and the well being of the financial system to infrastructure and a doable assault weapons ban — throughout the 73-minute speech. You possibly can learn their full protection right here.
All through the tackle, Biden highlighted bipartisan accomplishments and in addition talked again when GOP members heckled his claims. His warnings that some Republicans wish to section out Medicare and Social Safety riled conservatives, together with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who replied from the again row by shouting “Liar!” as others booed. Biden responded, smiling: “As all of us apparently agree, Social Safety and Medicare [are] off the books now, proper?”
Biden additionally took victory laps, a few of which centered on well being care initiatives. He talked concerning the financial savings to individuals and to the federal authorities that may consequence from permitting Medicare to barter what it pays for prescription medicines. He cited laws he signed into legislation that, beginning this 12 months, would cap insulin prices for Medicare beneficiaries and, beginning in 2025, would cap out-of-pocket drug prices for seniors. He additionally famous that 16 million individuals signed up for well being protection this 12 months by means of the Reasonably priced Care Act marketplaces. However his repeated chorus on such factors was: “Let’s end the job.”
He devoted an estimated 4 minutes to his efforts to carry down well being care prices — particularly prescription drug costs — and pointed a finger immediately at Large Pharma. “We’re taking over highly effective infrastructure,” he mentioned.
Biden additionally famous how a lot the state of the union has modified because the early days of covid. He referred to as consideration to the tip of the general public well being emergency slated for Could 11, however reminded the viewers — each within the chamber, the place Sen. Bernie Sanders was among the many few members seen sporting a face masks, and at house — that there’s a persevering with want to watch the coronavirus and to fund the event of latest remedies and vaccines.
Here’s a sampling of Biden’s well being care claims checked by PolitiFact:
“As an alternative of constructing the rich pay their fair proportion, some Republicans need Medicare and Social Safety to sundown. I’m not saying it’s the bulk.”
Home and Senate Republican leaders say they don’t assist this, however no less than one senator has broadly floated the thought. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) launched a plan in 2022 that said “all federal laws sunsets in 5 years. If a legislation is price retaining, Congress can go it once more.” (Scott’s plan is a coverage doc that he’s selling once more for his 2024 reelection.)
Scott’s proposal doesn’t particularly name for a phase-out of Medicare and Social Safety, which had been created generations in the past by means of federal laws. And his plan doesn’t have widespread assist inside his occasion; Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican chief within the Senate, in 2022 mentioned it will not be a part of the occasion’s agenda.
Some Home Republicans have left open the opportunity of altering the packages, together with elevating the eligibility age. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) prompt in August that Congress approve Social Safety and Medicare yearly somewhat than as an automated entitlement. However Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy mentioned Jan. 29 throughout a CBS “Face the Nation” interview that cuts to Social Safety or Medicare are “off the desk.”
“We’re lastly giving Medicare the facility to barter drug costs.”
That’s a contact too broad. Though the Inflation Discount Act will permit Medicare for the primary time to negotiate prescription drug costs with producers, the supply is not going to take impact till 2026. The preliminary group of negotiable medication will probably be restricted to 10 that 12 months. Extra medication will probably be added to the negotiation listing every year.
The Division of Well being and Human Companies is barred from negotiating on prescribed drugs within the Medicare program till they’ve been available on the market for a number of years.