Category Archives: Health Care

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces $3 Billion to Replace Toxic Lead Pipes and Deliver Clean Drinking Water to Communities Across the Country

$3 billion in funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda will accelerate progress toward the President’s commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country within a decade – that is if Biden and Democrats remain in power. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

Ashokan Reservoir, New York. $3 billion in funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda will accelerate progress toward the President’s commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country within a decade © Karen Rubin/

President Biden believes that every American should be able to turn on the tap and drink clean, safe water. But over 9 million homes, schools, day cares, and businesses receive their water through a lead pipe, putting people at risk of lead exposure. Lead is a neurotoxin that can irreversibly harm brain development in children, and it can also accumulate in the bones and teeth, damage the kidneys, and interfere with the production of red blood cells needed to carry oxygen. Due to decades of inequitable infrastructure development and underinvestment, lead poisoning disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. There is no safe level of exposure to lead. That is why the President made a commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country within a decade and coordinated a whole of government effort to deploy resources and leverage every tool across federal, state and local government to address lead hazards through the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan

As part of this unprecedented commitment, President Biden traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, to announce $3 billion through his Investing in America agenda to replace toxic lead pipes. This investment, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is part of the historic $15 billion in dedicated funding for lead pipe replacement provided by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The announcement delivers funding to every state and U.S. territory to help address lead in drinking water while creating good-paying jobs, many of them union jobs. In addition, this program funding is part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities, and is helping address the inequities of lead exposure.

Additionally, to further reduce lead exposure, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced nearly $90 million in available funding to reduce residential health hazards in public housing, including lead-based paint hazards, carbon monoxide, mold, radon, fire safety, and asbestos, advancing the President’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan.

The announcement from the EPA builds on more than $20 billion in water infrastructure investments that state and local governments have made through the President’s American Rescue Plan. North Carolina has invested close to $2 billion from the American Rescue Plan in more than 800 clean water, wastewater, and stormwater projects across the state and is using another $150 million to test for and remove lead hazards in every school and child care center across the state, a historic effort to remove lead from North Carolina schools.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, President Biden announced $76 million from his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for lead pipe replacement across the state. The President also met with faculty and students from a Wilmington school that replaced a water fountain with high levels of lead with funding from his American Rescue Plan.

EPA estimates North Carolina has an estimated 300,000 lead pipes, and today the President will highlight his goal of replacing every lead pipe in the state. With today’s new investment of $76 million, the President has now delivered $250 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to North Carolina for lead pipe replacement. This funding has already reached over 60 communities across the state to kick start lead pipe identification and replacement efforts.

One of these communities is Wilmington, North Carolina, which has already received over $4 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to identify and replace 325 lead pipes. Today, President Biden is announcing that the first Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded lead pipe replacement in Wilmington is now underway, kicking off this project for the city.

Progress Replacing Lead Pipes Across America

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to accelerate lead pipe replacement in communities across the country. The total lead pipe replacement funding announced by the Administration to date will replace up to 1.7 million lead pipes, protecting countless families and children from lead exposure.

To ensure that communities that bear most of the burden of lead exposure are not left behind in this opportunity, EPA and the Department of Labor are partnering directly with disadvantaged communities across the country to provide the support and technical assistance they need to secure funding for and execute lead pipe replacement initiatives. EPA has partnered with over 40 communities to date, and last November announced it would partner with 200 more communities through the EPA Get the Lead Out Initiative.

This work is also creating good-paying jobs, many of them union jobs, in replacing lead pipes – and accelerating the development of a skilled water workforce. Unions including the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, and the International Union of Operating Engineers are already training workers in lead pipe replacement and putting them to work on neighborhood blocks across the country. The EPA estimates that 200,000 jobs have been created by the Administration’s investments in drinking water infrastructure alone.

In addition, last November, EPA issued a proposal to strengthen its Lead and Copper Rule that would require water systems to replace lead pipes within 10 years and drive progress nationwide toward reducing lead exposure.

The examples below highlight several communities where the Administration’s investments are making an impact:

  • In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, $41 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has helped put the city on track to replace all its lead pipes within 10 years instead of the initially estimated 60 years. The city is using a high proportion of union labor to replace lead pipes, and will be one of four new White House Workforce Hub cities that were announced by President Biden last week.
  • Following a lead-in-water crisis, Benton Harbor, Michigan, successfully replaced all its lead pipes within just two years, fueled by $18 million in funding from the President’s American Rescue Plan.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has received $42 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to replace lead pipes, and is on track to replace every lead pipe by 2026. Vice President Harris visited the city in February to highlight this progress in lead pipe replacement and announce new funding for clean water.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota, has received $16 million from the American Rescue Plan to replace lead pipes. This funding has enabled the city’s Lead-Free St. Paul program to target the replacement of all lead pipes by 2032 at no cost to residents.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, passed an ordinance to develop a program to replace all lead pipes in line with the President’s goal, and authorized covering the cost of replacing private lead pipes that bring water to residents’ homes. A $20 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support this work.
  • Tucson, Arizona, received $6.95 million to develop a Lead Service Line inventory for their nine public water systems. The city will use this inventory to develop a plan to replace lead service lines in the community and improve drinking water quality for residents – many of whom live in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
  • Denver, Colorado, has replaced almost 25,000 lead service lines since the program launched in 2020. Denver plans to replace another 5,000 this year and is on target to replace 100% by 2031, accelerating its lead pipe replacement due to Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
  • Last week, at the White House Water Summit, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative launched its new Great Lakes Lead Pipes Partnership with three of its members – Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This first-of-its kind, mayor-led effort to accelerate lead pipe replacement in cities with the heaviest lead burdens will provide a collaborative forum for metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes to share emerging best practices to encourage faster, more equitable replacement programs and overcome common challenges, including reducing replacement costs, improving community outreach, and spurring water workforce development.

Broader Administration Actions to Deliver Clean Water

The funding announced today is part of the over $50 billion provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade the nation’s water infrastructure – the largest investment in clean and safe water in American history. In addition, over $20 billion from the American Rescue Plan has been invested in water infrastructure, including lead pipe replacement, nationwide.

Beyond replacing lead pipes, these broader investments are helping to expand access to clean drinking water, improve wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in water. The Administration has launched over 1,400 of these projects to deliver clean water to date.

Delivering Clean Drinking Water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests nearly $31 billion in funding to secure clean drinking water through infrastructure projects such as upgrading aging water mains and improving water treatment plants.

Improving Wastewater and Sanitation Infrastructure. Over 2 million people in the U.S. live without basic running water or sanitation systems in their homes. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests nearly $13 billion to improve wastewater, sanitation, and stormwater infrastructure.

Tackling PFAS Pollution in Water. Exposure to PFAS “forever chemicals” in drinking water is linked to severe health impacts including deadly cancers, liver and heart damage, and developmental impacts in children. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $10 billion to address toxic PFAS pollution in water. In addition, this month EPA announced the first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS , which will protect 100 million people from PFAS exposure.

Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Expands Health Coverage to DACA Recipients

President Biden announces final rule that will allow eligible DACA recipients to enroll in Affordable Care Act coverage. Some 100,000 DACA recipients are expected to take advantage of this opportunity. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

During his State of the Union address, President Biden called for Congress to pass comprehensive Immigration Reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Republicans blocked bipartisan reform legislation, but Biden is expanding eligibility for DACA recipients to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. © Karen Rubin/

The Biden-Harris Administration is expanding access to affordable, quality health care coverage to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.  In 2012, President Obama and then Vice President Biden created the DACA policy to transform the lives of eligible Dreamers – young people who came to this country as children—allowing them to live and work lawfully in our country.  Over the last decade, DACA has brought stability, possibility, and progress to hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. 
While President Biden continues to call on Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers and others, he is committed to protecting and preserving DACA and providing Dreamers with the opportunities and support they need to succeed, including access to affordable, quality health care coverage.  Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s actions, today’s final rule will remove the prohibition on DACA recipients’ eligibility for Affordable Care Act coverage for the first time, and is projected to help more than 100,000 young people gain health insurance.  Starting in November, DACA recipients can apply for coverage through and state-based marketplaces, where they may qualify for financial assistance to help them purchase quality health insurance. Four out of five consumers have found a plan for less than $10 a month, with millions saving an average of about $800 a year on their premiums.
President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that health care should be a right, not a privilege. Together, they promised to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, lowering costs and expanding coverage so that every American has the peace of mind that health insurance brings.  Today’s final rule delivers on the President’s commitment by giving DACA recipients that same peace and opportunity.  
Today’s rule also reinforces the President’s enduring commitment to DACA recipients and Dreamers, who contribute daily to the strength and vitality of our communities and our country.  On day one of his Administration, President Biden committed to preserving and fortifying the DACA policy.  While only Congress can provide Dreamers permanent status and a pathway to citizenship, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to vigorously defend DACA against ongoing legal challenges and strengthened DACA by codifying the 2012 policy in a final rule.  

Statement from President Joe Biden:

Today, my Administration is expanding affordable, quality health care coverage to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Dreamers are our loved ones, our nurses, teachers, and small business owners. And they deserve the promise of health care just like all of us.
Nearly twelve years ago, President Obama and I announced the DACA program to allow our young people to live and work in the only country they’ve called home. Since then, DACA has provided more than 800,000 Dreamers with the ability to work lawfully, pursue an education, and contribute their immense talents to make our communities better and stronger.
I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed. That’s why I’ve previously directed the Department of Homeland Security to take all appropriate actions to “preserve and fortify” DACA. And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.
On Day One of my administration, I sent a comprehensive immigration reform plan to Congress to protect Dreamers and their families. Only Congress can provide Dreamers permanent status and a pathway to citizenship. Congress must act.

Statement from Vice President Kamala Harris:

Dreamers throughout this country are serving in our military, teaching in our classrooms, and leading our small businesses as entrepreneurs. They are our neighbors, classmates, and loved ones. Our nation is fortunate that America is their home.
Thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), more than 800,000 Dreamers have been able to live, study, and work in the only home they have ever known while making our nation a better place. It is why I fought to defend and protect DACA as Attorney General of California and a U.S. Senator from California.
Now as Vice President, I have worked alongside President Biden to take steps to preserve and fortify DACA. Today, we are building on this progress by ensuring DACA recipients also have access to affordable health care, which will improve the health of all communities. This announcement will bring relief to more than 100,000 people and help them thrive while working to achieve their aspirations.
President Biden and I will continue to do everything in our power to protect DACA, but it is only a temporary solution. Congress must act to ensure Dreamers have the permanent protections they deserve.

Contrast to Trump Position on DACA, ACA

In stark contrast to Biden’s support of DACA and ACA, Trump tried to dismantle the DACA program which had protected 700,000 young people who were brought to this country as children from deportation, eventually losing at the Supreme Court.

And Trump tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act – failed – and is vowing to try again if he wins in November. What this would mean for Americans:

  • More than 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions could be denied coverage or charged more
  • 40 million people’s health insurance coverage at risk
  • Health care costs would increase for the millions of Americans
  • Young adults up to age 26 could be kicked off their parent’s health care plan

Fact Sheet: Vice President Harris Announces Historic Advancements in Long-Term Care to Support the Care Economy

These advancements in long-term care to support the care economy are the latest the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to improve safety, provide support for care workers and family caregivers, and to expand access to affordable, high-quality care. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

Vice President Harris is announcing two landmark final rules that fulfill the President’s commitment to safety in care, improving access to long-term care and the quality of caregiving jobs. © Karen Rubin/

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and to have access to quality care. That’s why, today, Vice President Harris is announcing two landmark final rules that fulfill the President’s commitment to safety in care, improving access to long-term care and the quality of caregiving jobs. Ensuring that all Americans, including older Americans and people with disabilities, have access to care – including home-based care – that is safe, reliable, and of high quality is an important part of the President’s agenda and a part of the President’s broader commitment to care. Today’s announcements deliver on the President’s promise in the State of the Union to crack down on nursing homes that endanger resident safety as well as his historic Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers, which included the most comprehensive set of executive actions any President has taken to improve care for millions of seniors and people with disabilities while supporting care workers and family caregivers.

Cracking Down on Inadequate Nursing Home Care

Medicare and Medicaid pay billions of dollars per year to ensure that 1.2 million Americans that receive care in nursing homes are cared for, yet too many nursing homes chronically understaff their facilities, leading to sub-standard or unsafe care. When facilities are understaffed, residents may go without basic necessities like baths, trips to the bathroom, and meals – and it is less safe when residents have a medical emergency. Understaffing can also have a disproportionate impact on women and people of color who make up a large proportion of the nursing home workforce because, without sufficient support, these dedicated workers can’t provide the care they know the residents deserve. In his 2022 State of the Union address, President Biden pledged that he would “protect seniors’ lives and life savings by cracking down on nursing homes that commit fraud, endanger patient safety, or prescribe drugs they don’t need.”

The Nursing Home Minimum Staffing Rule finalized today will require all nursing homes that receive federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid to have 3.48 hours per resident per day of total staffing, including a defined number from both registered nurses (0.55 hours per resident per day) and nurse aides (2.45 per resident per day). This means a facility with 100 residents would need at least two or three RNs and at least ten or eleven nurse aides as well as two additional nurse staff (which could be registered nurses, licensed professional nurses, or nurse aides) per shift to meet the minimum staffing standards. Many facilities would need to staff at a higher level based on their residents’ needs. It will also require facilities to have a registered nurse onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide skilled nursing care, which will further improve nursing home safety. Adequate staffing is proven to be one of the measures most strongly associated with safety and good care outcomes.

To make sure nursing homes have the time they need to hire necessary staff, the requirements of this rule will be introduced in phases, with longer timeframes for rural communities. Limited, temporary exemptions will be available for both the 24/7 registered nurse requirement and the underlying staffing standards for nursing homes in workforce shortage areas that demonstrate a good faith effort to hire.

Strong transparency measures will ensure nursing home residents and their families are aware when a nursing home is using an exemption.

This rule will not only benefit residents and their families, it will also ensure that workers aren’t stretched too thin by having inadequate staff on site, which is currently a common reason for worker burnout and turnover. Workers who are on the frontlines interacting with residents and understanding their needs will also be given a voice in developing staffing plans for nursing homes. The Biden-Harris Administration also continues to invest in expanding the pipeline of nursing workers and other care workers, who are so essential to our economy, including through funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Improving Access to Home Care and the Quality of Home Care Jobs

Over seven million seniors and people with disabilities, alongside their families, rely on home and community-based services to provide for long-term care needs in their own homes and communities. This critical care is provided by a dedicated home care workforce, made up disproportionately by women of color, that often struggles to make ends meet due to low wages and few benefits. At the same time, home care is still very inaccessible for many Medicaid enrollees, with more than threequarters of home care providers not accepting new clients, leaving hundreds of thousands of older Americans and Americans with disabilities on waiting lists or struggling to afford the care they need.

The “Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services” final rule, finalized today, will help improve access to home care services as well as improve the quality caregiving jobs through its new provisions for home care. Specifically, the rule will ensure adequate compensation for home care workers by requiring that at least 80 percent of Medicaid payments for home care services go to workers’ wages. This policy would also allow states to take into account the unique experiences that small home care providers and providers in rural areas face while ensuring their employees receive their fair share of Medicaid payments and continued training as well as the delivery of quality care. Higher wages will likely reduce turnover, leading to higher quality of care for older adults and people with disabilities across the nation, as studies have shown. States will also be required to be more transparent in how much they pay for home care services and how they set those rates, increasing the accountability for home care providers. Finally, states will have to create a home care rate-setting advisory group made up of beneficiaries, home care workers and other key stakeholders to advise and consult on provider payment rates and direct compensation for direct care workers.

Strong Record on Improving Access to Care and Supporting Caregivers

Today’s new final rules are in addition to an already impressive track record on delivering on the President’s Executive Order on Care. Over the last year, the Biden-Harris Administration has:

  • Increased pay for care workers, including by proposing a rule to gradually increase pay for Head Start teachers by about $10,000, to reach parity with the salaries of public preschool teachers.
  • Cut child care costs for low-income families by finalizing a rule that will reduce or eliminate copayments for more than 100,000 working families, and lowering the cost of care for lower earning service members, thereby reducing the cost of child care for nearly two-thirds of children receiving care on military bases. Military families earning $45,000 would see a 34% decrease in the amount they pay for child care.

Supported family caregivers by making it easier for family caregivers to access Medicare beneficiary information and provide more support as they prepare for their loved ones to be discharged from the hospital. The Administration has also expanded access to mental health services for tens of thousands of family caregivers who are helping veterans

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Substantial Progress on the President’s Care Agenda During Month of Action on Care

President Biden was laid out how he is building a Care Economy on transformational investments in child care, home care, paid family and medical leave, tax cuts for workers and families, and other priorities, which are fully paid for by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes. © Karen Rubin/

This fact sheet on the progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made on the President’s Care Agenda during this proclaimed Month of Action on Care and the comparison to the Republican agenda is from the White House:

During Care Workers Recognition Month, the Biden-Harris Administration is marking the progress we have made to make care more affordable for American families, support family caregivers, boost compensation and job quality for care workers, and expand care options. President Biden was joined by care workers and unions as he laid out how he is building on that progress with transformational investments in child care, home care, paid family and medical leave, tax cuts for workers and families, and other priorities, which are fully paid for by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes. That is in sharp contrast with congressional Republicans, who would make devastating cuts to funding for care, healthcare, Social Security, and Medicare to pay for massive tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations.
The Need to Improve Care
Too many families and individuals struggle to access the affordable, high-quality care they need. The cost of child care is up 26% in the last decade and more than 200% over the past 30 years. For older adults and people with disabilities, long-term care costs are up 40% over the past decade. As a result, the cost of care is out of reach for many Americans. At the same time, care workers—who are disproportionately women of color—struggle to make ends meet, even as they care for others. Due to the low pay and the demanding nature of care work, turnover rates are high. In addition, at least 53 million Americans serve as family caregivers—including over 5 million caring for service members or veterans—and many face challenges due to the lack of support, training, and respite.
The President’s Plan to Lower Costs for Families for Care
The President has made child care, long-term care, family caregiving, and paid leave a core part of his domestic and economic agendas. He has referenced these issues in each of his State of the Union Addresses, and proposed transformative investments in each budget. The President’s most recent budget proposes the following:
Affordable, High-Quality Child Care and Universal Preschool
High-quality early childhood education improves the lives of both children and their parents. The President’s child care plan provides a lifeline to the parents of more than 16 million children by guaranteeing affordable, high-quality child care from birth until kindergarten for low- and middle-income working families. Right now, the average price of child care is nearly $11,000 a year, with low-income families paying as much as a third of their income for child care. Under the President’s plan, most families would pay $10 per day, saving the average family over $600 per child, per month. The budget also invests in free, voluntary, universal preschool for all of the nation’s 4-year-olds and charts a path to expand preschool to 3-year-olds. Together, these investments will make early care and education programs affordable and available where families live and work in communities across the country, increase wages for early childhood education workers, and strengthen the economy.
Child Tax Credit
The President’s Budget would restore the expanded Child Tax Credit, lifting 3 million children out of poverty and cutting taxes by an average of $2,600 for 39 million low- and middle-income families that include 66 million children. This includes 18 million children in low-income families who would be newly eligible for the full credit, and 2 million children living with a caregiver who is at least 60 years old. It would also provide breathing room for day-to-day expenses by allowing families to receive their tax credit through monthly payments.
Long-term Care and Family Caregiving
The President is committed to protecting older adults’ and people with disabilities’ health and dignity. His plan would invest in expanding Medicaid home and community-based services to help a larger number of older adults and people with disabilities receive care in their home or community, and promote better opportunities for home care workers and family caregivers. There has been substantial growth amongst the younger population under 65 with disabilities living in nursing homes. The percentage of individuals younger than 65 living in residential nursing facilities grew from 10.6 in 2000 to 16.2 in 2017. The President’s investments will help ensure that they can receive care in their own homes and communities. The President has also proposed substantial investments for family caregivers serving our nation’s heroes, including stipends and support services for family caregivers of eligible veterans.
A National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
Many workers with caregiving responsibilities are forced to leave the workforce intermittently or permanently to take care of their loved ones. As of March 2022, only 24% of private sector workers in the United States had access to paid family leave through their employer and only 43% had access to short-term disability insurance through their employer. The President proposes a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure that all workers can take time off to care for and bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; heal from their own serious illness; address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or grieve the death of a loved one.  The vast majority of America’s workers do not have access to employer-provided paid family leave, including 73 percent of private sector workers. Among the lowest-paid workers, who are disproportionately women and workers of color, 94 percent lack access to paid family leave through their employers. Some people’s caregiving responsibilities are so demanding that under the current system they have to give up paid work entirely or retire early to take care of their loved ones.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Historic Actions on Care
Since day one of the Administration, President Biden and Vice President Harris have been committed to improving the quality of and access to care while supporting care workers and family caregivers. The President’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided an historic $39 billion in child care relief funds to provide relief for child care providers and support for families to afford care. The ARP delivered $37 billion across all 50 states for activities and investments that enhance, expand, and strengthen home and community-based services and $145 million to help the National Family Caregiver Support Program deliver counseling, training, and short-term relief to family and other informal care providers. Moreover, over the past three years, the President has secured close to a 50% increase in federal child care assistance and a $1.5 billion increase in funding for Head Start. And in April 2023, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers (Care EO) surrounded by people with disabilities, family caregivers, long-term care workers, early educators, veterans, and aging advocates. The EO was celebrated by leaders from across the country. Over the past year, agencies have made substantial progress implementing the Care EO. For example:  

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), finalized a rule that will reduce the cost of child care for more than 100,000 low-income working families and make sure that more than 140,000 child care providers are paid more fairly and on-time. It also proposed a rule that would boost Head Start teacher wages by $10,000, on average.
    • For child care providers serving families benefiting from federal child care assistance, HHS, through ACF, adopted a pay floor that will increase child care payments for nearly 47,000 center- and home-based child care providers.
    • HHS, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, proposed rules to ensure that home care workers get a bigger share of Medicaid payments; and establish minimum staffing standards in nursing homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.
    • The Department of Defense reduced the amounts that lower-earning Service members pay out of pocket for child care, lowering child care costs for the families of more than 32,000 children aged 0-12 enrolled in installation Child Development Programs. Military Families earning $45,000 would see a 34% decrease in the amount they pay for child care. This also builds on the President’s Executive Order to advance the economic security of military spouses, veterans, caregivers and survivors.
    • The Department of Veterans Affairs launched a pilot program, known as the Virtual Psychotherapy Program for Caregivers, to provide mental health counseling services to family caregivers caring for our nation’s heroes. The program successfully completed its pilot phase and is now a permanent program. Since October 2023, the program has provided over 4,937 psychotherapy sessions to family caregivers.

In addition to these actions, federal agencies have taken dozens of others over the past year to improve family caregiving, long-term care, and child care. A full list can be found here.
Republican Officials Want to Provide Massive Taxes to the Rich while Making Devastating Cuts to Programs Working Families Count On
President Biden is building our economy from the middle out and bottom up—an economy where we invest in all Americans to make sure the middle class has a fair shot and no one gets left behind.
House Republicans have a very different economic vision. Under the RSC budget, care would be on the cutting block. Their budget proposal translates to 264,600 fewer child care slots and 253,500 fewer high-quality Head Start slots. These investments are critical to giving children a strong start and making sure that families have the help they need to thrive.
Along with damaging cuts to care funding, House Republicans would slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other supports that working families count on. House Republicans would make these devastating cuts to pay for another $5.5 trillion in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations. Their budget would deliver windfall tax cuts to billionaires and their heirs, eliminate the minimum tax on billion-dollar corporations President Biden signed into law, make it easier for the wealthy and corporations to cheat on their taxes, and preserve policies that encourage corporations to move jobs and profits offshore—all while making it more difficult for families to afford child care and education.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Issues Executive Order and Announces New Actions to Advance Women’s Health Research and Innovation

President Biden signed a new Executive Order that will direct the most comprehensive set of executive actions ever taken to expand and improve research on women’s health. These directives will ensure women’s health is integrated and prioritized across the federal research portfolio and budget, and will galvanize new research on a wide range of topics, including maternal health © Karen Rubin/

In his State of the Union address, President Biden laid out his vision for transforming women’s health research and improving women’s lives all across America. The President called on Congress to make a bold, transformative investment of $12 billion in new funding for women’s health research. This investment would be used to create a Fund for Women’s Health Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research agenda and to establish a new nationwide network of research centers of excellence and innovation in women’s health—which would serve as a national gold standard for women’s health research across the lifespan.

It is long past time to ensure women get the answers they need when it comes to their health—from cardiovascular disease to autoimmune diseases to menopause-related conditions. To pioneer the next generation of discoveries, the President and the First Lady launched the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, which aims to fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research in the United States.

President Biden signed a new Executive Order that will direct the most comprehensive set of executive actions ever taken to expand and improve research on women’s health. These directives will ensure women’s health is integrated and prioritized across the federal research portfolio and budget, and will galvanize new research on a wide range of topics, including women’s midlife health.

The President and First Lady are also announcing more than twenty new actions and commitments by federal agencies, including through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). This includes the launch of a new NIH-wide effort that will direct key investments of $200 million in Fiscal Year 2025 to fund new, interdisciplinary women’s health research—a first step towards the transformative central Fund on Women’s Health that the President has called on Congress to invest in. These actions also build on the First Lady’s announcement last month of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) Sprint for Women’s Health, which committed $100 million towards transformative research and development in women’s health.

The President is issuing an Executive Order that will:

  • Integrate Women’s Health Across the Federal Research Portfolio. The Executive Order directs the Initiative’s constituent agencies to develop and strengthen research and data standards on women’s health across all relevant research and funding opportunities, with the goal of helping ensure that the Administration is better leveraging every dollar of federal funding for health research to improve women’s health. These actions will build on the NIH’s current policy to ensure that research it funds considers women’s health in the development of study design and in data collection and analysis. Agencies will take action to ensure women’s health is being considered at every step in the research process—from the applications that prospective grantees submit to the way that they report on grant implementation.
  • Prioritize Investments in Women’s Health Research. The Executive Order directs the Initiative’s constituent agencies to prioritize funding for women’s health research and encourage innovation in women’s health, including through ARPA-H and multi-agency initiatives such as the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. These entities are dedicated to high-impact research and innovation, including through the support of early-stage small businesses and entrepreneurs engaged in research and innovation. The Executive Order further directs HHS and NSF to study ways to leverage artificial intelligence to advance women’s health research. These additional investments—across a wide range of agencies—will support innovation and open new doors to breakthroughs in women’s health.
  • Galvanize New Research on Women’s Midlife Health.  To narrow research gaps on diseases and conditions associated with women’s midlife health or that are more likely to occur after menopause, such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart attack, and osteoporosis, the President is directing HHS to: expand data collection efforts related to women’s midlife health; launch a comprehensive research agenda that will guide future investments in menopause-related research; identify ways to improve management of menopause-related issues and the clinical care that women receive; and develop new resources to help women better understand their options for menopause-related symptoms prevention and treatment. The Executive Order also directs the DoD and VA to study and take steps to improve the treatment of, and research related to, menopause for Service women and women veterans.
  • Assess Unmet Needs to Support Women’s Health Research. The Executive Order directs the Office of Management and Budget and the Gender Policy Council to lead a robust effort to assess gaps in federal funding for women’s health research and identify changes—whether statutory, regulatory, or budgetary—that are needed to maximally support the broad scope of women’s health research across the federal government. Agencies will also be required to report annually on their investments in women’s health research, as well as progress towards their efforts to improve women’s health.

Today, agencies are also announcing new actions they are taking to promote women’s health research, as part of their ongoing efforts through the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. Agencies are announcing actions to:

Prioritize and Increase Investments in Women’s Health Research

  • Launch an NIH-Cross Cutting Effort to Transform Women’s Health Throughout the Lifespan. NIH is launching an NIH-wide effort to close gaps in women’s health research across the lifespan. This effort—which will initially be supported by $200 million from NIH beginning in FY 2025—will allow NIH to catalyze interdisciplinary research, particularly on issues that cut across the traditional mandates of the institutes and centers at NIH. It will also allow NIH to launch ambitious, multi-faceted research projects such as research on the impact of perimenopause and menopause on heart health, brain health and bone health. In addition, the President’s FY25 Budget Request would double current funding for the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health to support new and existing initiatives that emphasize women’s health research.

This coordinated, NIH-wide effort will be co-chaired by the NIH Office of the Director, the Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the institute directors from the National Institute on Aging; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute on Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

  • Invest in Research on a Wide Range of Women’s Health Issues. The bipartisan Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), led out of DoD, funds research on women’s health encompassing a range of diseases and conditions that affect women uniquely, disproportionately, or differently from men. While the programs and topic areas directed by Congress differ each year, CDMRP has consistently funded research to advance women’s health since its creation in 1993. In Fiscal Year 2022, DoD implemented nearly $490 million in CDMRP investments towards women’s health research projects ranging from breast and ovarian cancer to lupus to orthotics and prosthetics in women.  In Fiscal Year 2023, DoD anticipates implementing approximately $500 million in CDMRP funding for women’s health research, including in endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic fatigue.
  • Call for New Proposals on Emerging Women’s Health Issues. Today, NSF is calling for new research and education proposals to advance discoveries and innovations related to women’s health. To promote multidisciplinary solutions to women’s health disparities, NSF invites applications that would improve women’s health through a wide range of disciplines—from computational research to engineering biomechanics. This is the first time that NSF has broadly called for novel and transformative research that is focused entirely on women’s health topics, and proposals will be considered on an ongoing basis.
  • Increase Research on How Environmental Factors Affect Women’s Health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is updating its grant solicitations and contracts to ensure that applicants prioritize, as appropriate, the consideration of women’s exposures and health outcomes. These changes will help ensure that women’s health is better accounted for across EPA’s research portfolio and increase our knowledge of women’s environmental health—from endocrine disruption to toxic exposure.
  • Create a Dedicated, One-Stop Shop for NIH Funding Opportunities on Women’s Health. Researchers are often unaware of existing opportunities to apply for federal funding. To help close this gap, NIH is issuing a new Notice of Special Interest that identifies current, open funding opportunities related to women’s health research across a wide range of health conditions and all Institutes, Centers, and Offices. The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health will build on this new Notice by creating a dedicated one-stop shop on open funding opportunities related to women’s health research. This will make it easier for researchers and institutions to find and apply for funding—instead of having to search across each of NIH’s 27 institutes for funding opportunities.

Foster Innovation and Discovery in Women’s Health

  • Accelerate Transformative Research and Development in Women’s Health. ARPA-H’s Sprint for Women’s Health launched in February 2024 commits $100 million to transformative research and development in women’s health. ARPA-H is soliciting ideas for novel groundbreaking research and development to address women’s health, as well as opportunities to accelerate and scale tools, products, and platforms with the potential for commercialization to improve women’s health outcomes.
  • Support Private Sector Innovation Through Additional Federal Investments in Women’s Health Research. The NIH’s competitive Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program is committing to further increasing—by 50 percent—its investments in supporting innovators and early-stage small businesses engaged in research and development on women’s health. These programs will solicit new proposals on promising women’s health innovation and make evidence-based investments that bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations. This commitment for additional funds builds on the investments the Administration has already made to increase innovation in women’s health through small businesses, including by increasing investments by sevenfold between Fiscal Year 2021 and Fiscal Year 2023.
  • Advance Initiatives to Protect and Promote the Health of Women. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeks to advance efforts to help address gaps in research and availability of products for diseases and conditions that primarily impact women, or for which scientific considerations may be different for women, and is committed to research and regulatory initiatives that facilitate the development of safe and effective medical products for women. FDA also plans to issue guidance for industry that relates to the inclusion of women in clinical trials and conduct outreach to stakeholders to discuss opportunities to advance women’s health across the lifespan. And FDA’s Office of Women’s Health will update FDA’s framework for women’s health research and seek to fund research with an emphasis on bridging gaps in knowledge on important women’s health topics, including sex differences and conditions that uniquely or disproportionately impact women.
  • Use Biomarkers to Improve the Health of Women Through Early Detection and Treatment of Conditions, such as Endometriosis. NIH will launch a new initiative dedicated to research on biomarker discovery and validation to help improve our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat conditions that affect women uniquely, including endometriosis. This NIH initiative will accelerate our ability to identify new pathways for diagnosis and treatment by encouraging multi-sector collaboration and synergistic research that will speed the transfer of knowledge from bench to bedside.
  • Leverage Engineering Research to Improve Women’s Health. The NSF Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA) is convening national experts to identify high-impact research opportunities in engineering that can improve women’s health. ERVA’s Transforming Women’s Health Outcomes Through Engineering visioning event will be held in June 2024, and will bring together experts from across engineering—including those in microfluidics, computational modeling, artificial intelligence/imaging, and diagnostic technologies and devices—to evaluate the landscape for new applications in women’s health. Following this event, ERVA will issue a report and roadmap on critical areas where engineering research can impact women’s health across the lifespan.
  • Drive Engineering Innovations in Women’s Health Discovery. NSF awardees at Texas A&M University will hold a conference in summer 2024 to collectively identify challenges and opportunities in improving women’s health through engineering. Biomedical engineers and scientists will explore and identify how various types of engineering tools, including biomechanics and immuno-engineering, can be applied to women’s health and spark promising new research directions.

Expand and Leverage Data Collection and Analysis Related to Women’s Health

  • Help Standardize Data to Support Research on Women’s Health. NIH is launching an effort to identify and develop new common data elements related to women’s health that will help researchers share and combine datasets, promote interoperability, and improve the accuracy of datasets when it comes to women’s health. NIH will initiate this process by convening data and scientific experts across the federal government to solicit feedback on the need to develop new NIH-endorsed common data elements—which are widely used in both research and clinical settings. By advancing new tools to capture more data about women’s health, NIH will give researchers and clinicians the tools they need to enable more meaningful data collection, analysis, and reporting and comprehensively improve our knowledge of women’s health.
  • Reflect Women’s Health Needs in National Coverage Determinations. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will strengthen its review process, including through Coverage with Evidence Development guidance, to ensure that new medical services and technologies work well in women, as applicable, before being covered nationally through the Medicare program. This will help ensure that Medicare funds are used for treatments with a sufficient evidence base to show that they actually work in women, who make up more than half of the Medicare population.
  • Leverage Data and Quality Measures to Advance Women’s Health Research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) are building on existing datasets to improve the collection, analysis, and reporting of information on women’s health. The CDC is expanding the collection of key quality measures across a woman’s lifespan, including to understand the link between pregnancy and post-partum hypertension and heart disease, and plans to release the Million Hearts Hypertension in Pregnancy Change Package. This resource will feature a menu of evidence-informed strategies by which clinicians can change care processes. Each strategy includes tested tools and resources to support related clinical quality improvement. HRSA is modernizing its Uniform Data System in ways that will improve the ability to assess how women are being served through HRSA-funded health centers. By improving the ability to analyze data on key clinical quality measures, CDC and HRSA can help close gaps in women’s health care access and identify new opportunities for high-impact research.  

Strengthen Coordination, Infrastructure, and Training to Support Women’s Health Research

  • Launch New Joint Collaborative to Improve Women’s Health Research for Service Members and Veterans. DoD and VA are launching a new Women’s Health Research collaborative to explore opportunities that further promote joint efforts to advance women’s health research and improve evidence-based care for Service members and veterans. The collaborative will increase coordination with the goal of helping improve care across the lifespan for women in the military and women veterans. The Departments will further advance research on key women’s health issues and develop a roadmap to close pressing research gaps, including those specifically affecting Service women and women veterans.
  • Coordinate Research to Advance the Health of Women in the Military. DoD will invest $10 million, contingent on available funds, in the Military Women’s Health Research Partnership. This Partnership is led by the Uniformed Services University and advances and coordinates women’s health research across the Department. The Partnership is supporting research in a wide range of health issues affecting women in the military, including cancers, mental and behavioral health, and the unique health care needs of Active Duty Service Women. In addition, the Uniformed Services University established a dedicated Director of Military Women’s Health Research Program, a role that is responsible for identifying research gaps, fostering collaboration, and coordinating and aligning a unified approach to address the evolving needs of Active Duty Service Women.
  • Support EPA-Wide Research and Dissemination of Data on Women’s Health. EPA is establishing a Women’s Health Community of Practice to coordinate research and data dissemination. EPA also plans to direct the Board of Scientific Counselors to identify ways to advance EPA’s research with specific consideration of the intersection of environmental factors and women’s health, including maternal health.
  • Expand Fellowship Training in Women’s Health Research. CDC, in collaboration with the CDC Foundation and American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is expanding training in women’s health research and public health surveillance to OBGYNs, nurses and advanced practice nurses. Through fellowships and public health experiences with CDC, these clinicians will gain public health research skills to improve the health of women and children exposed to or affected by infectious diseases, mental health and substance use disorders. CDC will invite early career clinicians to train in public health and policy to become future leaders in women’s health research.

Improve Women’s Health Across the Lifespan

  • Create a Comprehensive Research Agenda on Menopause. To help women get the answers they need about menopause, NIH will launch its first-ever Pathways to Prevention series on menopause and the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Pathways to Prevention is an independent, evidence-based process to synthesize the current state of the evidence, identify gaps in existing research, and develop a roadmap that can be used to help guide the field forward. The report, once completed, will help guide innovation and investments in menopause-related research and care across the federal government and research community.
  • Improve Primary Care and Preventive Services for Women. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will issue a Notice of Intent to publish a funding opportunity announcement for research to advance the science of primary care, which will include a focus on women’s health. Through this funding opportunity, AHRQ will build evidence about key elements of primary care that influence patient outcomes and advance health equity—focusing on women of color—such as care coordination, continuity of care, comprehensiveness of care, person-centered care, and trust. The results from the funding opportunity will shed light on vital targets for improvements in the delivery of primary healthcare across a woman’s lifespan, including women’s health preventive services, prevention and management of multiple chronic diseases, perinatal care, transition from pediatric to adult care, sexual and reproductive health, and care of older adults.
  • Promote the Health of American Indian and Alaska Native Women. The Indian Health Service is launching a series of engagements, including focus groups, to better understand tribal beliefs related to menopause in American Indian and Alaska Native Women. This series will inform new opportunities to expand culturally informed patient care and research as well as the development of new resources and educational materials.
  • Connect Research to Real-World Outcomes to Improve Women’s Mental and Behavioral Health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is supporting a range of health care providers to address the unique needs of women with or at risk for mental health and substance use disorders. Building on its current efforts to provide technical assistance through various initiatives, SAMHSA intends, contingent on available funds, to launch a new comprehensive Women’s Behavioral Health Technical Assistance Center. This center will identify and improve the implementation of best practices in women’s behavioral health across the life span; identify and fill critical gaps in knowledge of and resources for women’s behavioral health; and provide learning opportunities, training, and technical assistance for healthcare providers.
  • Support Research on Maternal Health Outcomes. USDA will fund research to help recognize early warning signs of maternal morbidity and mortality in recipients of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and anticipates awarding up to $5 million in Fiscal Year 2023 to support maternal health research through WIC. In addition, research being conducted through the Agricultural Research Service’s Human Nutrition Research Centers is focusing on women’s health across the lifespan, including the nutritional needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women and older adults.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes New Steps to Lower Prescription Drug and Health Care Costs, Expand Access to Health Care, and Protect Consumers

Because of President Biden, Americans are now protected against receiving surprise medical bills for most emergency care and ambulance services as well as when consumers didn’t know they were getting care from an out-of-network provider – that has eliminated some 1 million “surprise” bills a month. © Karen Rubin/

The White House provided this fact sheet detailing actions President Biden has taken, and new actions he is taking to lower prescription drug and health care costs, expand access to health care and protect consumers, even as Republicans voted against giving Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices and their presumed presidential nominee, Trump, is renewing calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which now has enabled a record 21 million to obtain health insurance, 9 million more than when Biden took office, and as he moves to negotiate for a $2000 cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for all, not just Medicare recipients and expand the number of drug prices being negotiated from 10 to as many as 50 a year. –Karen Rubin, [email protected]

President Biden believes that health care is a right, not a privilege, and since day one, he has delivered health care to millions more Americans while also lowering health care costs. The President continues to build on, strengthen, and protect Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, signing laws such as the American Rescue Plan Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to lower prescription drug costs and health insurance premiums. Thanks to the President’s efforts, more Americans have health insurance than under any other President, and are better protected against surprise medical bills and junk fees. Seniors are already seeing lower prescription drug prices with insulin capped at $35, free vaccines, and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs capped at $2,000 starting in 2025.  And the Administration is well on its way to lower the cost of range of drugs as Medicare negotiates over the prices of prescription drugs for the first time ever. The Biden-Harris Administration has also taken steps to make sure consumers aren’t scammed by junk insurance and have better access to mental health care.
However, the President is not just resting on these accomplishments.  He’s fighting to deliver even lower costs and better health care to Americans. That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration is acting to lower prescription drug costs, keep health insurance premiums low, expand access to health care, especially mental health care coverage, and continue to protect Americans from getting ripped off. 

Taking on Big Pharma to Deliver Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Seniors and Families

 After decades of opposition, President Biden enacted a law that finally takes on Big Pharma and gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will save millions of seniors money on some of the costliest prescription drugs on the market. Meanwhile, Big Pharma also executed over $135 billion in mergers and acquisitions in 2023 alone, while passing the cost to consumers. And eight of the 10 drugs selected for this year’s negotiation program raised their prices in 2024 – after all 10 drugs were already priced three to eight times higher in the United States than in other countries. President Biden knows how the Inflation Reduction Act is delivering for American families, and his Administration will continue the fight to lower health care costs for more Americans. 

  • Announcing that Manufacturers of 10 Drugs Remain at the Negotiating Table. Last month, for the first time in history, Medicare has made offers on the fair price for 10 of the most widely used and expensive drugs. Medicare is no longer taking whatever price for these drugs that the pharmaceutical companies demand. This week CMS announced that manufacturers for all 10 selected drugs are participating in drug price negotiation, with all manufacturers having submitted counteroffers and negotiations continuing.  Later this year, new, negotiated prices for the first 10 prescription drugs selected for the negotiation program will be announced.
  • Let Medicare Negotiate Drug Prices for at least 50 Drugs Every Year. Medicare should not be limited to negotiating just 20 drugs per year. Instead, the President is proposing that Medicare be able to negotiate prices for the major drugs that seniors rely on, like those used for treating heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The Budget cuts federal spending by $200 billion increasing the number of drugs Medicare can select for negotiation and bringing more drugs into the negotiation process sooner, and other reforms.
  • Expand Cap on Out-of-Pocket Prescription Drug Costs. When the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on prescription drugs applies in Medicare in 2025, nearly 19 million seniors and other beneficiaries are projected to save $400 per year on prescription drugs. The President is calling on Congress to expand the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap to all private insurance so that all Americans have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they won’t have to choose between filling their prescription or putting food on the table.
  • Capping Medicare Cost-Sharing at $2 for Common Generic Drugs. Medicare will be launching a new model to limit Medicare Part D cost-sharing for certain generic drugs to $2. As Medicare prepares to launch the model, today HHS published a list of dozens of generic drugs for the model, including drugs like statins to treat high cholesterol, beta-blockers for high blood pressure, and platelet inhibitors to prevent blood clots. In his budget, the President is calling on Congress to limit Medicare cost-sharing to $2 for high-value generic drugs for all Medicare plans.
  • Access to Cell & Gene Therapies. In January, HHS announced that sickle cell disease will be the first focus of the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Access Model. Under this model, CMS will negotiate with manufacturers on behalf of state Medicaid programs to increase affordable access to potentially lifesaving and life-changing treatment, and lower health care costs for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Today, CMS is releasing the Request for Applications for drug manufacturers of cell and gene therapies to participate in the model.
  • Expand the IRA’s Requirement that Drug Companies Pay Rebates When They Increase Prices Faster than Inflation. Thanks to the IRA, drug manufacturers must now pay rebates to Medicare if their price increases for certain drugs exceed inflation. The President is calling on Congress to require those rebates for commercial drug sales, as well as sales to Medicare. That will save the federal government billions of dollars, further curb prescription drug price inflation, and reduce health insurance premiums for people with private health insurance coverage.

Putting High-Quality Health Care Within Reach
Today, more Americans have health insurance than under any President. The President’s efforts to lower health insurance premiums have led to record-breaking enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces, with over 21 million people signing up for coverage – 9 million more than when the President took office. The Biden-Harris Administration isn’t stopping there and is building on this incredible success by:

  • Keeping Health Insurance Premiums Low. Thanks to the President’s American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act, millions of Americans are saving on average $800 a year on premiums. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to keeping health insurance premiums low, giving families more breathing room and the peace of mind that health insurance brings. To do that, the President is calling on Congress to make the expanded premium tax credits that the Inflation Reduction Act extended permanent. Without Congressional action, millions of Americans will see their health insurance premiums spike by hundreds or thousands of dollars starting in the fall of 2025.
  • Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap. The President continues to call on Congress to provide Medicaid-like coverage to people in the 10 states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion as well as keeping Medicaid expansion enrollees covered.
  • Keeping Kids Covered. Investing in our nation’s children is a top priority for the President. Research shows that when children have health insurance, they thrive: they’re healthier, they do better in school, and are more likely to succeed in adulthood. Keeping children covered is the right thing to do, which is why the President wants to make sure that children can never lose coverage due to red tape from birth until they turn age 6, and that families only have to submit Medicaid paperwork once every three years.
  • Closing Research Gaps in Women’s Health Research. In November 2023, the President and the First Lady launched the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research to fundamentally change how our nation approaches and funds women’s health research. Women make up more than half the population but have been understudied and underrepresented in health research for far too long. As part of the initiative, the President during the State of the Union will call on Congress to make bold, transformational investments in women’s health research. 
  • Making Home Care More Available. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, President Biden delivered $37 billion to all states to expand access to home care and improve the quality of caregiving jobs. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking steps to improve the quality of Medicaid home care services and to make sure home care workers get a bigger share of Medicaid payments for these critical services.  The President remains committed to further improving and expanding Medicaid home care services, and is calling on Congress to do their part to allow the hundreds of thousands of older adults and individuals with disabilities on Medicaid home care waiting list to remain in their homes and stay active in their communities while continuing to improve the quality of jobs for caregivers.
  • Ensuring Access to Mental Health Care. Ensuring robust access to mental health care has been a bipartisan priority for almost 15 years, including the enactment of mental health parity requirements which require health plans to cover mental health care benefits at the same levels as physical health care benefits. Yet today, too many Americans still struggle to find and afford the care they need. The President is committed to tackling the mental health crisis in this country, which means making health plans do their part and providing agencies with the needed support to make sure they’re doing so. The Biden-Harris Administration is working to finalize the mental health parity rule, which would close existing loopholes as well as ensure health plans evaluate access to mental health care in their networks, and make changes if it’s found to be inadequate. In addition, the President is calling on Congress to further increase access to mental health care by expanding coverage in Medicare and private insurance, applying the mental health parity requirements to Medicare beneficiaries, and extending Medicare incentive programs to address mental health provider shortages.

Cracking Down on Junk Insurance, Surprise Bills and Fees, and Confusing Health Care Pricing

Nothing infuriates the President more than seeing Americans get ripped off. That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized implementing surprise billing protections, preventing 1 million Americans from receiving surprise medical bills every single month. The President has also taken steps to prevent Americans from being ripped off by junk insurance that preys on vulnerable citizens by closing loopholes to ensure consumers know what they’re buying and can get the health coverage that best meets their needs. But more can be done to protect consumers, which is why the President intends to:

  • Prevent More Surprise Medical Bills. Today, Americans are protected from receiving medical bills for most emergency care and air ambulance services as well as when consumers didn’t know they were getting care from an out-of-network provider despite doing their homework and going to an in-network facility for treatment.  The President wants to further protect consumers by applying surprise billing protections to ground ambulance providers. The last thing people should worry about during an emergency is an unexpected bill for their ambulance ride.
  • Crack Down on Junk Insurance. Last year, the Biden-Harris Administration proposed a monumental rule to help millions of Americans access high-quality, affordable health insurance and protect consumers from being discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions. Making sure Americans aren’t scammed into low-quality coverage, and charged more or denied life-saving care is a key priority for the Administration, which is why we are working to finalize proposed rules that limit the availability of junk insurance.

Honoring America’s Commitment to Seniors

The President has always believed that Medicare and Social Security are a promise—a rock-solid guarantee generations of Americans have counted on to be able to retire with dignity and security. The President will reject any efforts to cut the Medicare or Social Security benefits that seniors and people with disabilities have earned and paid into their entire working lives. The Budget honors that ironclad commitment—not only by rejecting benefit cuts, but by embracing reforms and investments that will protect and strengthen both programs. The President is committed to working with Congress to ensure Medicare and Social Security remain strong for their beneficiaries, now and in the future. 

  • Securing Medicare. In his budget, the President is calling on Congress to ensure that high-income individuals contribute their fair share to Medicare and directs revenue from the Net Investment Income Tax into the HI trust fund as was originally intended. In addition, the President has proposed to direct savings from further lowering drug costs into the Medicare trust fund.  If Congress were to heed the President’s call and enact these reforms, it would substantially extend solvency for the Medicare HI Trust Fund, guaranteeing seniors the benefits they have been promised.
  • Protects Seniors’ Health and Dignity. As President Biden pledged to do two years ago in the State of the Union, the Biden-Harris Administration is “set[ting] higher standards for nursing homes and make sure your loved ones get the care they deserve and that they expect.” The nursing home industry receives billions of dollars of taxpayer funding each year, but for too long, many facilities have not had the staff required to give residents safe, high-quality care. That is changing. HHS has proposed a new rule establishing a federal floor for nursing home staffing, so that owners cannot cut staffing to unsafe levels simply to turn a profit. This includes a proposal for every facility to have a Registered Nurse on site 24/7, in addition to minimum number of registered nurses and nurse aides to assist with care. Earlier this year, HHS also finalized a rule to increase transparency in nursing home ownership, making it easier for residents and their loved ones to hold facilities accountable. The final rule was just submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review

Strong Record on Expanding and Strengthening Health Care Nationwide

 The President’s new actions are all in addition to an already impressive track record on fighting for the health care of Americans across the nation. Over the last three years, the President has:

  • Expanded health insurance through the ACA Marketplaces to an additional nine million Americans and helped over one million people in Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Dakota gain Medicaid coverage.
  • Extended postpartum Medicaid coverage to nearly 700,000 women across 44 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Kept children covered continuously in Medicaid and CHIP for a full year.
  • Made it easier for people to enroll in the ACA Marketplaces and Medicaid, including for older adults that are covered by both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Made critical vaccines free for all Medicare beneficiaries as well as adults enrolled in Medicaid, with seniors on Medicare saving on average $70 in out-of-pockets for vaccines.
  • Lowered maximum out of pocket costs for Americans with employer and ACA coverage by an average of $400.
  • Capped out-of-pocket costs at $35 for a month’s supply of insulin for seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare.

Lowered coinsurance for seniors that took the 47 drugs covered by Medicare Part B that hiked prices faster than inflation in 2023, with some enrollees saving as much as $618 per dose.

FACT SHEET: Marking 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access Announces New Actions; Biden, Harris Vow to Restore Rights

Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. The contrast couldn’t be more stark: Women march in record numbers in Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration; Trump now boasts how he is responsible for the Supreme Court overturning women’s reproductive rights. The majority of Americans want reproductive freedom. Today, on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe, President Biden and Vice President Harris affirmed their commitment to restore women’s rights, bodily autonomy and self-determination. © Karen Rubin/

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Help Strengthen Access to Contraception, Protect Access to Medication Abortion, and Ensure Patients Receive Emergency Medical Care

Today, on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women’s health and lives hang in the balance due to extreme state abortion bans. These dangerous state laws have caused chaos and confusion, as women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to travel hundreds of miles, or required to go to court to seek permission for the health care they need.  

In the face of the continued threats to reproductive freedom, President Biden convened the fourth meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, where agencies announced new actions to protect access to reproductive health care. The Task Force also heard directly from physicians who are on the frontlines of the fallout from the overturning of Roe v. Wade.  

Opening the meeting, President Biden declared:  

Fifty-one years ago today, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to choose — constitutional right to choose — the right to make a deeply personal decision with her doctor, free from the interference of politicians. I believe Roe v. Wade was right.  But then, a year and a half ago, this Supreme Court made an extreme decision, overturning Roe with their Dobbs decision, to rip away a constitutional right from the American people, which had never been done before — a fundamental right ripped away — important to so many Americans, a right that is vital to a country founded on the idea of freedom.  
I said on that day that Roe was overturned, the health and lives of women in this nation would now be at risk.  And that has unfortunately proven to be true…Today, in 2024 in America, women are turned away from emergency rooms, forced to travel hundreds of miles to get basic healthcare in another state that may have a different rule, forced to go to court to plead for help… 
The cruelty is astounding — an affront to a woman’s dignity, being told by extreme politicians to wait, to get sicker and sicker to the point where her life may be in danger before you can get the care you need. That cruel reality is the result of extreme Republicans who, for years, have made it their mission to end the Roe v. Wade decision. 
Since Roe was overturned, in 21 states, abortion bans are now in effect, many with no exception for rape or incest. We have doctors with us today who are on the frontlines of this crisis.  And they can attest to the consequences that these extreme laws are having on doctors and on their ability to care for their patients. Some doctors are fleeing their home states because of laws that would send them to prison for providing evidence-based healthcare. In states like Texas, doctors can get a life sentence — a life sentence for providing the care they were trained to provide.  It’s outrageous.  It’s simply outrageous.
And, frankly, this is just the beginning. My congressional Republican friends are going to even further extremes to undermine a woman’s rights and threatening the lives of women. Three different Republican members in the United States Congress have proposed three different additional national bans to criminalize healthcare in every state.  Let me tell you what they are.
One is a zero-week ban with absolutely no exceptions — a zero-week with absolutely no exceptions.  The second is a six-week ban.  The penalty for violating it is jail.  The third is a 15-week ban.  The penalty is a five-year prison sentence.
That means even if you live in a state where the extremist Republicans are not running the show, your right to choose, your right to privacy would still be at risk if this law was passed — any of these were passed nationally.
And the extreme right is trying to limit all women in America from getting a safe and effective medication, approved by the Federal Drug Administration over 20 years ago based on the FDA’s independent expert judgment.  They’re trying to block women from getting this medication even in states where abortion is legal. 
And on top of all of that, if you live in a state where you cannot get this care you need and you make a plan to travel to a state where you can get the[medical care],[Republican officials] are trying to stop that as well. In Alabama the Attorney General is threatening to prosecute people who help family members travel to another state.
Folks, this is what it looks like when the right to privacy is under attack.  These extreme laws have no place in the United States of America. 
You know, the American people know these laws are wrong.  The vast majority of Americans believe the right to choose is fundamental. 
Also today, the Vice President launch her nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour to continue fighting back against extreme attacks throughout America. “These extremists want to roll back the clock to a time before women were treated as full citizens,” she declared at the kick-off event in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, 51 years to the day that Roe v. Wade was decided.

“As we face this crisis, as we are clear eyed about the harm, let us also understand who is responsible, shall we? The former president hand picked three Supreme Court justices because they intended for them to overturn Roe. .. Proud? Proud? Proud that women across our nation are suffering? Proud that women have been robbed of a fundamental freedom? Proud that doctors could be thrown in prison for caring for their patients, that young people today have fewer rights than their mothers and their grandmothers? How dare he?” the Vice President declared.

Biden-Harris Administration Actions to Protect Reproductive Health Care
During the Task Force meeting, members reported on ongoing implementation of the President’s three Executive Orders and a Presidential Memorandum on access to reproductive health care and announce new steps to: 

  • Strengthen Contraception Access and Affordability for Women with Private Health Insurance. The Administration is committed to ensuring that women have access to contraception—an essential component of reproductive health care that has only become more important in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—and reducing barriers that women face in accessing contraception prescribed by their provider. The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) are issuing new guidance to clarify standards and support expanded coverage of a broader range of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. This action builds on the progress already made by the Affordable Care Act to expand access to affordable contraception for millions of women nationwide.

    In addition, the Office of Personnel Management will strengthen access to contraception for federal workers, retirees, and family members by issuing guidance to insurers participating in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program that incorporates the Departments’ guidance. OPM will also newly require insurers that participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program to take additional steps to educate enrollees about their contraception benefits.
    • Reinforce Obligations to Cover Affordable Contraception. The Secretary of HHS is issuing a letter to private health insurers, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Medicare plans about their obligations to cover contraception for those they serve. The letter targets a wide range of payers to advance compliance with existing standards and underscore the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that women across the country can access affordable contraception. The letter also highlights recent HHS action to expand coverage and improve payment for contraceptives for Medicare beneficiaries, improving access for women with disabilities.
       Educate Patients and Health Care Providers on Their Rights and Obligations for Emergency Medical Care. The Administration is committed to helping ensure all patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, have access to emergency medical care required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The Administration has long taken the position that the required emergency care can, in some circumstances, include abortion care. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending that interpretation of the law before the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by June. 

      To increase awareness of EMTALA and improve the procedures for ensuring that patients facing all types of medical emergencies receive the care to which they are entitled, HHS is announcing today a comprehensive plan to educate all patients about their rights and to help ensure hospitals meet their obligations under federal law. This effort will include the launch of new accessible and understandable resources about rights and protections for patients under EMTALA and the process for submitting a complaint. HHS will also disseminate training materials for health care providers and establish a dedicated team of experts who will increase the Department’s capacity to support hospitals and providers across the country in complying with federal requirements—to help ensure that every patient receives the emergency medical care required under federal law.
  • Protect Access to Safe and Legal Medication Abortion. One year ago today, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing further efforts to support patients, providers, and pharmacies who wish to legally access, prescribe, or provide medication abortion—including by taking steps to safeguard their safety and security. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security will report on their implementation of this Presidential Memorandum, including the resources they have disseminated to health care providers, including pharmacies, to support safe access to legal medication abortion.

 Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s strong record of taking action since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. These ongoing efforts to defend reproductive rights include:
Protecting Access to Abortion, including Medication Abortion

  • Defend FDA Approval of Medication Abortion in Court.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and DOJ are defending access to mifepristone—a safe and effective drug used in medication abortion that FDA first approved more than twenty years ago—and FDA’s independent, expert judgment in court, including in a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that attempts to curtail access nationwide. The Administration will continue to stand by FDA’s decades-old approval and regulation of the medication and by FDA’s ability to review, approve, and regulate a wide range of prescription medications. Efforts to impose outdated restrictions on mifepristone would limit access to reproductive health care in every state in the country.
    • Protect Access to Safe and Legal Medication Abortion.  On what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to consider further efforts to protect access to medication abortion. This Presidential Memorandum was issued in the face of attacks by state officials to prevent women from accessing mifepristone and discourage pharmacies from becoming certified to dispense the medication. These attacks followed independent, evidence-based action taken by FDA to allow mifepristone to continue to be prescribed by telehealth and sent by mail as well as to enable interested pharmacies to become certified.
    • Partner with State Leaders on the Frontlines of Abortion Access.  The White House continues to partner with leaders on the frontlines of protecting access to abortion—both those fighting extreme state legislation and those advancing proactive policies to protect access to reproductive health care, including for patients who are forced to travel out of state for care. The Vice President has led these efforts, traveling to 20 states and meeting with more than 250 state legislators, health care providers, and advocates in the past year. Today, she is kicking off her nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour in Wisconsin.
    • Ensure Access to Emergency Medical Care.  Republican elected officials in states across the country have put women’s lives at risk by banning abortion even when her doctor determines that an abortion is necessary to prevent serious health consequences. The Administration is committed to ensuring all patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under federal law—including abortion care when that is the stabilizing treatment required. HHS issued guidance and Secretary Becerra sent letters to providers affirming the Administration’s view that EMTALA preempts conflicting state law restricting access to abortion in emergency situations. The Department of Justice has taken action defend and enforce these protections in court, including in a case currently before the Supreme Court.
    • Provide Access to Reproductive Health Care for Veterans.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued an interim final rule to allow VA to provide abortion counseling and, in certain circumstances, abortion care to veterans and VA beneficiaries. VA provides abortion services when the health or life of the patient would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. When working within the scope of their federal employment, VA employees may provide abortion services as authorized by federal law regardless of state restrictions. DOJ will support and provide representation to any VA providers whom states attempt to prosecute for violations of state abortion laws where those providers were appropriately carrying out their duties under VA’s interim final rule. 
    • Support Access to Care for Service Members.  The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken action to ensure that Service members and their families can access reproductive health care and that DoD health care providers can operate effectively. DoD has released policies to support Service members and their families’ ability to travel for lawful non-covered reproductive health care and to bolster Service members’ privacy and afford them the time and space needed to make personal health care decisions.
    • Defend Reproductive Rights in Court. DOJ created a Reproductive Rights Task Force, which monitors and evaluates state and local actions that threaten to infringe on federal protections relating to the provision or pursuit of reproductive health care, impair women’s ability to seek abortion care where it is legal, impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about the care that is available in other states, ban mifepristone based on disagreement with FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy, or impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide legal reproductive health services in a manner authorized by federal law.

 Supporting Women’s Ability to Travel for Medical Care

  • Defend the Right to Travel.  On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Biden reaffirmed the Attorney General’s statement that women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need. In November 2023, DOJ filed a statement of interest in two lawsuits challenging the Alabama Attorney General’s threat to prosecute people who provide assistance to women seeking lawful out-of-state abortions. DOJ explained that the threatened Alabama prosecutions infringe the constitutional right to travel and made clear that states may not punish third parties for assisting women in exercising that right. DOJ continues to monitor states’ efforts to restrict the constitutional right to travel across state lines to receive lawful health care.  
    • Support Patients Traveling Out of State for Medical Care.  HHS issued a letter to U.S. governors inviting them to apply for Section 1115 waivers to expand access to care under the Medicaid program for women traveling from a state where reproductive rights are under attack and women may be denied medical care. HHS continues to encourage state leaders to consider and develop new waiver proposals that would support access to reproductive health care services.

Safeguarding Access to Contraception

  • Strengthen Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception.  Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the President issued an Executive Order directing agencies to consider actions to improve access and affordability for women with private health insurance; promote increased access to over-the-counter contraception; support access to affordable contraception through Medicaid and Medicare; ensure Service members, veterans, and Federal employees are able to access contraception; bolster contraception access across Federal health programs; and support access for college students and employees. These are just some of the recent actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to implement this Executive Order:
    • Following FDA’s approval of the first daily oral contraceptive in the United States without a prescription, the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS issued a Request for Information to solicit public input on how to best ensure coverage and access to over-the-counter preventive services, including contraception, at no cost and without a prescription from a health care provider.
    • Vice President Harris and the Department of Education convened representatives from 68 college and university leaders in 32 states to hear promising strategies from leaders of postsecondary institutions for protecting and expanding access to contraception for their students and on campus.
    • The Gender Policy Council, Domestic Policy Council, and leaders from the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS convened private sector leaders to stress the need to continue to build on the significant progress already made under the Affordable Care Act in expanding access to contraception and call on participants to take robust additional actions to improve access.
    • The Health Resources and Services Administration proposed new data measures for federally funded health centers that, once finalized, will help ensure that patients are screened for contraception needs. Screening and data measures will help enhance the overall delivery of voluntary family planning and related services, which is a required primary health care service under federal law.
    • The Office of Personnel Management launched a public education campaign to highlight contraception benefits available to federal employees and their family members.
    • HHS is continuing its public-private partnership to expand access to contraception with Upstream, a national nonprofit organization that provides health centers with free patient-centered, evidence-based training and technical assistance to eliminate provider-level barriers to offering the full range of contraceptive options. To date, HHS has connected Upstream to nearly 100 health care clinics, resulting in partnerships that will help Upstream accelerate their national expansion to reach 5 million women of reproductive age every year. 
    • Clarify Protections for Women with Private Health Insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health plans must provide coverage for contraception and family planning counseling with no out-of-pocket costs. The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS convened a meeting with health insurers and employee benefit plans. These agencies called on the industry to meet their obligations to cover contraception as required under the law. Following this conversation, these agencies issued guidance to clarify protections for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Expand Access Under the Affordable Care Act.  The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS proposed a rule to strengthen access to contraception under the Affordable Care Act so all women with private health coverage who need and want contraception can obtain it without cost sharing. Millions of women have already benefited from this coverage, which has helped them save billions of dollars on contraception.
    • Support Title X Clinics.  Last year, HHS provided $263 million to over 4,000 Title X clinics across the country to provide a wide range of voluntary, client-centered family planning and related preventive services. The Title X Family Planning Program remains a critical part of the nation’s safety net, providing free or low-cost services for 2.6 million clients in 2022.
    • Promote Access to Contraception for Service Members and Their Families and Certain Dependents of Veterans.  To improve access to contraception at military hospitals and clinics, DoD expanded walk-in contraceptive care services for active-duty Service members and other Military Health System beneficiaries, and eliminated TRICARE copays for certain contraceptive services. And VA proposed a rule to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for certain types of contraception through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Promoting Safety and Security of Patients, Providers, and Clinics

  • Promote Safety and Security of Patients, Providers and Clinics. DOJ continues to robustly enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which protects the right to access and provide reproductive health services.

Safeguarding Privacy and Sensitive Health Information

  • Strengthen Reproductive Health Privacy under HIPAA.  HHS issued a proposed rule to strengthen privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As proposed, this rule would prevent an individual’s information from being disclosed to investigate, sue, or prosecute an individual, a health care provider, or a loved one simply because that person sought, obtained, provided, or facilitated legal reproductive health care, including abortion. By safeguarding sensitive information related to reproductive health care, the rule will strengthen patient-provider confidentiality and help health care providers give complete and accurate information to patients. Prior to the proposed ruleHHS issued guidance reaffirming HIPAA’s existing protections for the privacy of individuals’ protected health information.
    • Take Action Against Illegal Use and Sharing of Sensitive Health Information.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has committed to enforcing the law against illegal use and sharing of highly sensitive data, including information related to reproductive health care. Consistent with this commitment, the FTC has taken several enforcement actions against companies for disclosing consumers’ personal health information, including highly sensitive reproductive health data, without permission.
    • Help Consumers Protect Their Personal Data.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new guide for consumers on best practices for protecting their personal data, including geolocation data, on mobile phones. The guide follows a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by FCC that would strengthen data breach rules to provide greater protections to personal data. Separately, HHS issued a how-to guide for consumers on steps they can take to better protect their data on personal cell phones or tablets and when using mobile health apps, like period trackers, which are generally not protected by HIPAA.
    • Protect Students’ Health Information.  ED issued guidance to over 20,000 school officials to remind them of their obligations to protect student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The guidance helps ensure that school officials—at federally funded school districts, colleges, and universities—know that, with certain exceptions, they must obtain written consent from eligible students or parents before disclosing personally identifiable information from students’ educational records, which may include student health information. The guidance encourages school officials to consider the importance of student privacy, including health privacy, with respect to disclosing student records. ED also issued a know-your-rights resource to help students understand their privacy rights for health records at school. 
    • Safeguard Patients’ Electronic Health Information.  HHS issued guidance affirming that doctors and other medical providers can take steps to protect patients’ electronic health information, including their information related to reproductive health care. HHS makes clear that patients have the right to ask that their electronic health information generally not be disclosed by a physician, hospital, or other health care provider. The guidance also reminds health care providers that HIPAA’s privacy protections apply to patients’ electronic health information.

Reinforcing Nondiscrimination Protections under Federal Law

  • Protect Students from Discrimination Based on Pregnancy.  The Department of Education (ED) released a resource for universities reiterating their responsibilities not to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, including termination of pregnancy. This guidance reminds schools of their existing and long-standing obligations under Title IX.
    • Strengthen Nondiscrimination in Healthcare.  HHS issued a proposed rule to strengthen nondiscrimination in health care. The proposed rule would implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and affirms protections consistent with President Biden’s Executive Orders on nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Providing Access to Accurate Information and Legal Resources

  • Ensure Easy Access to Reliable Information.  HHS launched and maintains, which provides timely and accurate information on people’s right to access reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion services, and health insurance coverage, as well as how to file a patient privacy or nondiscrimination complaint. DOJ also launched, a webpage that provides a centralized online resource on the Department’s ongoing work to protect access to reproductive health care services under federal law.
    • Hosted a Convening of Lawyers in Defense of Reproductive Rights.  DOJ and the Office of White House Counsel convened more than 200 lawyers and advocates from private firms, bar associations, legal aid organizations, reproductive rights groups, and law schools across the country for a convening of pro-bono attorneys, as directed in the first Executive Order. Following this convening, reproductive rights organizations launched the Abortion Defense Network to offer abortion-related legal defense services, including legal advice and representation.

Promote Research and Data Collection

Use Data to Track Impacts on Access to Care.  HHS convened leading experts to discuss the state of existing reproductive health research and what the data tells us about the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as the future of research on reproductive health care access. These convenings helped identify research gaps, opportunities for collaboration, and ways to bolster research efforts for both Federal agencies and external partners.

FACT SHEET: Dozens of Pharma Companies Raised Prices Faster than Inflation, Triggering Medicare Rebates, While Republicans Work to Insure Giveaways to Big Pharma, Higher Costs for Seniors, Families

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act cracks down on Big Pharma price gouging, saving some seniors thousands of dollars per dose of medication. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans push for giveaways to drug industry

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act cracks down on Big Pharma price gouging, saving some seniors thousands of dollars per dose of medication. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans push for giveaways to drug industry © Karen Rubin/

President Biden visited the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Washington, D.C. to announce that dozens of pharmaceutical companies will be required to pay rebates to Medicare for outrageous price hikes on prescription drugs that over 750,000 seniors take per year. For the last quarter of 2023, 48 Medicare Part B drugs raised their prices faster than inflation, and some drug companies raised prices of certain medications faster than inflation for every quarter over the last year. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act cracks down on this exorbitant price gouging, requiring these companies to pay rebates back to Medicare, saving seniors who take these drugs between $1 and $2,786 per dose on their medication.

President Biden vowed to lower prescription drug costs for seniors and families – and he is delivering on that promise. His Inflation Reduction Act finally allows Medicare to directly negotiate lower prescription drug prices, capped the cost of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries at $35, made recommended adult vaccines free, requires drug companies to pay rebates if they raise prices faster than the rate of inflation, and locked in savings of $800 per year on health insurance for nearly 15 million Americans. While Republicans in Congress fight tooth and nail to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and put money back in the pockets of Big Pharma, President Biden won’t back down from the fight to lower costs for hardworking Americans and make sure every family has access to affordable health care.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new list of 48 Medicare Part B drugs that raised their prices faster than inflation, and may be subject to inflation rebates in the first quarter of 2024 as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act. President Biden’s prescription drug law cracks down on price gouging from Big Pharma, requiring companies to pay back Medicare if they raise prices on seniors at a higher rate than inflation. Starting in January, some Medicare beneficiaries who take these 48 prescription drugs – including drugs used to treat cancer and fight infections – will have lower coinsurance than what they would have paid otherwise, and their out-of-pocket costs may decrease by $1 to as much as $2,786 per average dose.

Over the last four quarters, 64 drugs in total had prices that increased faster than inflation and may be subject to inflation rebates because of the Inflation Reduction Act. Some drugs, such as Signifor, used to treat an endocrine disorder, raised prices faster than inflation every quarter since the Inflation Reduction Act’s inflation rebate provision went into effect. Some Medicare beneficiaries who take Signifor could save $311 per monthly dose starting January because of the law.
The Administration is focused on making sure medications developed with taxpayer funds are available to Americans at reasonable prices. On average, Americans pay 2 to 3 times more than consumers in other developed countries for prescription drugs. Last week, the Administration announced a proposal to put drug companies on notice if products developed using federal funds are not made available to the public on reasonable terms, including based on price. The proposal would promote the federal government’s ability to license a patent — such as those used to create life-saving drugs — to a competitor with the goal of increasing competition and bringing costs down for families.
Building off last week’s announcement, today HHS announced that the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is making fair pricing a standard part of contract negotiations for medical products developed or purchased as part of its commitment to obtain best value for the US taxpayer. In September 2023, ASPR finalized a Project NextGen contract agreement for a potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatment being developed by Regeneron stating if the product is commercialized, its list price in the United States will be equal to or less than its retail price in comparable global markets. Since then, ASPR has also included similar language in recent agreements with CastleVax, Codagenix and Gritstone Bio, developers of the first three vaccines selected for development within Project NextGen. These clauses will be in effect if and when a company’s candidate vaccine is selected to move into ASPR-supported Phase 2b trials to evaluate clinical safety and efficacy.These actions are the result of a successful and collaborative approach by ASPR and its industry partners and show HHS’s commitment to keep Americans from paying unfair prices for the care they need.

  • HHS is releasing new data on the ten drugs selected for Medicare Drug Price Negotiation. For Medicare enrollees who take these drugs, their out-of-pocket spending on the 10 drugs selected for negotiation represents, on average, over half of their total Part D out-of-pocket spending. The report shows that total Medicare spending on the 10 drugs more than doubled from 2018 to 2022 – a rate that was 3 times faster than all Part D drugs over the same period. The report also shows that 7 of the 10 drugs selected received direct at least one form of federal support towards their drug development or utilized a federal-funded invention for their development.

After decades and hundreds of billions of dollars spent by Big Pharma to block Medicare from directly negotiating lower prescription drug prices for people with Medicare, President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act finally got it done. In total in 2022, Medicare Part D beneficiaries paid $3.4 billion in out of pocket costs for the 10 drugs selected for negotiation, and some paid over $6,000 per year for just one of the drugs on the list. Negotiated prices will go into effect for seniors in 2026.
Today’s announcements build off the actions the Administration has already taken to lower prescription drug costs for millions of seniors and families because of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. In 2023 alone:

  • The Inflation Reduction Act saved nearly 15 million Americans an average of $800 in 2023 because of health insurance savings the law locked in.
    • The Inflation Reduction Act capped the cost of insulin at $35 per covered insulin product for Medicare beneficiaries, saving an estimated 1.5 million seniors on Medicare $500 on average in 2023 on insulin costs. 
    • The Inflation Reduction Act made recommended vaccines – like the shingles vaccine – free for the 50.5 million seniors with Medicare Part D, and made recommended, approved adult vaccines free for all adults in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and nearly all full-benefit adults enrolled in traditional Medicaid. Seniors on Medicare who received a Part D vaccine saved an average of $70 on vaccines in 2023.
    • The Inflation Reduction Act saved many seniors on Medicare as much as $618 per average dose on 47 prescription drugs in 2023 because of the law’s provision requiring drug companies to pay rebates on certain drugs if they raise prices for those drugs faster than the rate of inflation. Starting in 2024, some seniors who take 48 prescription drugs could see savings of as much as $2,786 per average dose because those 48 drugs raised their prices faster than inflation in the last quarter of 2023.

In the coming months and years, the Inflation Reduction Act will continue to deliver cost-savings to millions of Americans, including:

  • In 2024, Part D enrollees will no longer pay 5% co-insurance when they reach the catastrophic phase of their benefit – meaning that some beneficiaries’ prescription drug costs will be capped at about $3,500 next year.
    • When the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on prescription drugs applies in 2025, nearly 19 million seniors and other beneficiaries are projected to save $400 per year on prescription drugs. 1.9 million enrollees with the highest drug costs will save an average of $2,500 per year because of this provision of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Millions of seniors could save money when negotiated prices of the first group of drugs selected for the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare Price Negotiation program are scheduled to go into effect in 2026. In 2022, seniors spent $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on the first ten drugs selected for negotiation – used to treat common conditions like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, blood clots and more. A report released last week shows that had the Medicare price negotiation program been in effect in 2021, Part D out of pocket costs would have declined 23% for people taking the ten costliest drugs at the time.

The Congressional Republican Agenda on Prescription Drugs: Giveaways to Big Pharma and Higher Costs for Seniors and Families

While President Biden has taken historic action to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors and for working-age people who get health insurance through their jobs, Congressional Republicans are actively fighting to roll back the reforms the President signed into law and to keep Big Pharma’s taxes low.
Congressional Republicans’ agenda for Big Pharma giveaways includes:
Repealing prescription drug inflation rebates. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) cuts costs for Medicare and seniors by requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay a rebate to Medicare if they increase prices faster than inflation. Dozens of Republicans have signed onto legislation that would revoke the rebate requirement.
By 2031, repealing this provision would:

  • Cost seniors $5 billion per year.
  • Increase federal deficits by $7 billion per year.
  • Give away over $10 billion per year to pharmaceutical companies.

Taking away Medicare’s ability to negotiate prescription drug prices. The IRA finally gave Medicare the authority to directly negotiate with drug companies on the high prices they charge for prescription drugs. Republican Chairs and Ranking Members of the committees with jurisdiction over Medicare have publicly committed to repealing this authority, which would allow Big Pharma to go back to charging seniors exorbitant prices for life-saving drugs.
By 2031, repealing this provision would:

  • Cost seniors $7 billion per year.
  • Increase federal deficits by $14 billion per year.
  • Give away over $20 billion to pharmaceutical companies per year.

Opposing caps on insulin prices. Monthly insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries are now capped at $35—providing certainty and critical cost savings for seniors who in some cases were paying as much as $400 for a month’s supply of insulin. The Republican Study Committee budget, as well as the House Budget Committee-passed budget plan, propose to repeal this and other IRA drug price reforms.  
Repealing this provision would mean the 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who use insulin could see their annual costs rise by an average of $500.
Protecting Big Pharma’s ability to avoid paying taxes. President Biden negotiated a historic agreement with over 130 countries that would enable the U.S. and its partners to ensure Big Pharma and other multinationals pay at least a minimum tax rate and has proposed that the U.S. implement that agreement with a 21% minimum tax rate on multinationals. Congressional Republicans are not only blocking the U.S. from implementing the global minimum tax agreement and vowing to never raise taxes on Big Pharma and other multinationals by implementing it, they also traveled to Europe this summer to try to persuade other countries to withdraw from the global agreement and keep taxes low for Big Pharma and other multinationals.
Blocking implementation of the President’s international tax reform proposals means:

  • Protecting a system in which Big Pharma can lower its taxes to under 12% by shifting profits offshore.

The U.S. would lose out on hundreds of billions in savings from adopting the President’s proposals to implement the international agreement. Based on a PhRMA-funded analysis, nearly $100 billion of the savings – or almost one-fifth of the total revenue – from implementing the President’s 21% minimum tax proposal would come from cracking down on pharmaceutical industry tax avoidance

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Lower Health Care and Prescription Drug Costs by Promoting Competition

While the dictator wannabe Donald Trump promises to tear up the Constitution, weaponize the judiciary, persecute political opponents, imprison the media and repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – and monopolizing headlines doing it as he propagandizes over his 91 indictments – President Biden is working feverishly and accomplishing landmark programs  to improve lives of Americans. Here is a fact sheet on the Biden-Harris Administration’s new actions to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs by promoting competition. – Karen Rubin/

Among the actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to lower healthcare and drug costs, are new regulations improving transparency of hospital charges © Karen Rubin/

President Biden believes that health care should be a right, not a privilege. For too long, corporate special interests and trickle-down economics have allowed Big Pharma to make record profits, while millions of Americans struggle to afford health care and prescription drugs to treat common and chronic conditions. As part of the President’s Bidenomics agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration is cracking down on price gouging and taking on special interests to lower costs for consumers and ensure every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care.
The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to promote competition in health care and support lowering prescription drug costs for American families, including the release of a proposed framework for agencies on the exercise of march-in rights on taxpayer-funded drugs and other inventions, which specifies that price can be a factor in considering whether a drug is accessible to the public. The Administration believes taxpayer-funded medications should be reasonably available and affordable. These actions build on the steps the Administration has already taken to lower health care costs, including capping the cost of insulin at $35 per product per month for seniors, finally allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, requiring drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise prices faster than inflation, and locking in $800 per year in health insurance savings for 15 million Americans under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Currently the 25 largest pharmaceutical companies control around 70% of industry revenues. Other parts of the health care industry also face limited competition. Over 75% of Americans live in highly concentrated hospital markets, and just three or fewer issuers of individual health insurance control 80% of the market in 44 states.  In addition, five insurers control over 70% of the Medicare Advantage market.  This consolidation contributes to higher costs for taxpayers, lower wages for health care workers, and worse quality of care for patients.
New research released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that a lack of competition in drug markets is highly correlated with higher prices. Among the highest priced drugs (i.e., those in the top 10% of price per prescription), 89% of small molecule drugs and 100% of biological products had only one manufacturer. Meanwhile, nearly three in ten individuals struggle to pay for the drugs they need.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new action to support lowering prescription drug costs and increase Americans’ access to life-saving medications:

  • Promoting equitable access to lower-priced taxpayer-funded drugs. Taxpayers have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on research catalyzing the discovery and development of new prescription drugs. The Biden-Harris Administration believes taxpayer-funded drugs and other taxpayer-funded inventions should be available and affordable to the public. When an invention is made using taxpayer funds, under certain circumstances march-in authority under the Bayh-Dole Act enables the federal government to license the invention to another party. The prior Administration proposed a rule preventing the government from exercising this authority on the basis of high price alone. The Biden-Harris Administration decided not to finalize that proposal earlier this year, consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Today, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and HHS released a proposed framework for agencies on the exercise of march-in rights that specifies for the first time that price can be a factor in determining that a drug or other taxpayer-funded invention is not accessible to the public. DOC and HHS invite public input on how this framework can promote access to taxpayer-funded inventions, including treatments for patients, while promoting innovation.

Scrutinizing Anticompetitive Acquisitions and Anticompetitive Practices

Consolidation in health care markets has accelerated in recent decades, too often leading to higher costs, worse quality, and less access to care—particularly in rural areas. For example, a review of hospital merger studies finds that mergers in concentrated markets led to price increases often exceeding 20%. Consolidation has also led to a rapid decline in independent physician practices, with research finding that patients of hospital-owned practices pay nearly $300 more for similar care than at independent physician practices. At the same time, private-equity ownership in the health care industry has ballooned, with approximately $750 billion in deals between 2010 and 2020—in sectors including, but not limited to, physician practices, nursing homeshospiceshome careautism treatment, and travel nursing. Too often, aggressive profiteering by private equity-owned practices can lead  to higher patient costs and lower quality care.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new efforts to stop anticompetitive mergers and anticompetitive practices by dominant corporations in health care markets:

  • Launching a cross-government public inquiry into corporate greed in health care. The Biden-Harris Administration believes that the health care system should serve patients, not corporate profiteers. The Administration is concerned that our health care system is increasingly being financialized, with corporate owners like private-equity firms and others maximizing their profits at the expense of patients’ health and safety, while increasing costs for patients and taxpayers alike. The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and HHS will issue a joint Request for Information to seek input about how private equity and other corporations’ increasing power and control of our health care is affecting Americans. The agencies will use this joint Request for Information to identify areas for future regulation and enforcement prioritization, and they will continue to work together on case referrals, reciprocal training programs, data-sharing, and further development of additional health care competition policy initiatives. As part of this effort, HHS will appoint a Chief Competition Officer and DOJ’s Antitrust Division and FTC will name Counsels for Health Care to lead these efforts.
    • Identifying anticompetitive “roll ups” that currently evade antitrust review. Businesses, including private equity firms, health insurers, and health systems sometimes use a “roll up” strategy, in which a series of relatively small acquisitions can lead to the consolidation of a market and contribute to worse patient outcomes while increasing taxpayer costs. These serial acquisitions may violate the antitrust laws. However, each individual acquisition may fall below the size thresholds for reporting the prospective deal to the antitrust enforcement agencies before consummating the acquisition—making it more challenging for the enforcement agencies to identify anticompetitive transactions at the outset. Today, HHS, DOJ, and FTC announced that they will, to the maximum extent possible, engage in data sharing to help the antitrust enforcers identify potentially anticompetitive transactions that might otherwise evade ready review by antitrust enforcers.  
    • Increasing ownership transparency. HHS, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has taken unprecedented action to shed light on ownership trends in health care. The Biden-Harris Administration is the first to make ownership data on hospitals, nursing homes, hospice providers, and home health agencies publicly available, and today, CMS is releasing, for the first time, ownership data on Federal Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics on Making ownership information transparent allows for identification of common owners with histories of poor performance, analysis of trends on how market consolidation impacts consumers, and evaluation of the relationships between ownership and changes in health care costs and outcomes.
    • Increasing Medicare Advantage transparency. Currently, about 50% of Medicare enrollment is in Medicare Advantage and the government is expected to spend over $7 trillion on Medicare Advantage over the next decade. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring Medicare Advantage insurance plans best meet the needs of people with Medicare, there is timely access to care, and the market has healthy competition. To support this work, CMS must have comprehensive and high-quality Medicare Advantage programmatic data, including understanding the effects of market shifts on consumers and care outcomes. CMS has taken steps to improve Medicare Advantage data transparency and today, it is announcing a new phase of this work, which will start with soliciting information from the public early next year to strengthen CMS’ data capabilities and Medicare Advantage transparency efforts.

Building on Past Actions to Increase Health Care Competition and Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Today’s announcements build on steps the Administration has already taken to lower health care costs, increase competition, and improve the quality and availability of care across the health care industry. These include:

  • Negotiating and lowering drug prices. Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration has announced 10 prescription drugs for which Medicare will negotiate prices directly with participating manufacturers. These drugs cost people with Medicare $3.4 billion out of pocket in 2022. This builds on other progress to lower prescription drug costs. Individuals with Medicare can now receive certain vaccines for free under the President’s lower cost prescription drug law, which previously would have cost an average of $70 in out-of-pocket costs. The Inflation Reduction Act also capped the cost of insulin at $35 per product per month for almost four million seniors and others on Medicare with diabetes, which can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings for a month’s supply.
    • Stopping Big Pharma tactics that raise prices for working families. In September, the FTC issued an enforcement policy statement explaining that Big Pharma companies may face legal action if they delay entry of generic competitors with improper patent listings in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) publication “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations,” commonly known as the “Orange Book.” When a brand pharmaceutical company improperly lists a patent in the Orange Book, it may lead to a 30-month statutory stay that blocks the approval of competing drug products, including lower-cost generic alternatives. Such improper listings may delay competition and raise prices for life-saving products like asthma inhalers. FTC and FDA are working to address such improper listings, with FTC announcing last month that it is using FDA’s regulatory Orange Book patent listing dispute process to challenge more than 100 patents listed for brand-name asthma inhalers, epinephrine autoinjectors, and other drug products.
    • Cracking down on anticompetitive and anti-consumer practices in Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage—which serves over 30 million American seniors and people with disabilities—is increasingly dominated by just a few large national plans. Last month, HHS announced new steps to stop predatory marketing and steering of patients to Medicare Advantage plans that may not best meet their needs. HHS, through CMS, proposed a rule that would, if finalized as proposed, stop large insurance plans from offering brokers and agents lavish compensation—such as cash bonuses, volume bonuses, and perks—and working with marketing middlemen who are more likely to contract with larger insurers, leading to steerage of patients to plans based on compensation to the broker or agent, rather than based on the patients’ best interests. The agency also proposed new steps to ensure seniors and people with disabilities can actually access supplemental benefits like hearing and dental coverage that these large plans market and help drive up Medicare costs—so that they aren’t merely marketing ploys. In addition, CMS will continue to implement updates to Medicare Advantage payment that improve payment accuracy, address gaming, and recover overpayments. Addressing overpayment in Medicare Advantage will help to make the market more competitive between Medicare Advantage plans and create a more level playing field between Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare.
    • Making hearing aids available over the counter. To lower the price of hearing aids and expand access, President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy called on the FDA to act promptly to make hearing aids available over the counter, without a prescription. That is now a reality. Under a final rule issued by the FDA, hearing aids are now on store shelves across the country—for thousands of dollars less than before. The rule is also spurring competition among providers, leading to new features and models. 
    • Cracking down on nursing homes that endanger resident safety. In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend towards private equity firms and other large corporate owners purchasing nursing homes and slashing levels of staff to maximize profits. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken numerous steps to crack down on nursing homes that put the well-being of their residents at risk, including proposing a rule that, if finalized as proposed, would establish a federal floor for safe staffing levels. In addition, last month CMS finalized a rule that will provide the public with more information about who owns a nursing home—including whether facilities are owned by a private equity company or a real estate investment trust—so that families can make more informed decisions about where to seek nursing home care for their loved ones.
    • Reforming the organ transplant system. President Biden recently signed a bipartisan law, the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act, to break up the monopoly that has controlled the organ transplant system for its entire nearly four decade history. HHS will harness competition with the intent to make multiple awards to different entities to benefit from best-in-class vendors and provide a more efficient system that strengthens oversight and improves patient safety.
    • Addressing anticompetitive misuse of the patent system. The FDA and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are working together on a robust set of initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting U.S. innovation while advancing marketplace competition that can lower drug prices and expand access.
    • Banning non-compete agreements that trap health care workers and others. The FTC proposed a rule to ban employers from using non-compete clauses. The estimated 18% of workers covered by non-compete clauses include many across the health care industry such as doctors and nurses, who will have more employment opportunities if the rule is finalized.
    • Promoting competition in eyeglasses. Bundling eye exams with the purchase of eyeglasses reduces competition in the market for eyeglasses—raising prices and reducing options for consumers. The FTC proposed an update to its Eyeglass Rule to make sure that eye doctors give patients their prescriptions immediately after their eye exam—facilitating consumers’ ability to choose where to get their eyeglass prescriptions filled.
    • Developing new payment models for doctors including supporting independent doctors. Succeeding in value-based care can be challenging for small, independent physician practices. Beginning July 1, 2024, the CMS Innovation Center’s Making Care Primary Model will provide a pathway for primary care clinicians to gradually adopt prospective, population-based payments that support the delivery of advanced primary care. 

Improving transparency of hospital chargesCMS hospital price transparency regulations lay the foundation for a patient-driven health care system by making hospitals’ standard charges’ data available to the public.  Last month, CMS strengthened these regulations to require hospitals to make charges available in a more standardized manner to streamline enforcement capabilities. This will help the public learn how much an insurance company pays for a particular hospital service, for third parties to develop consumer-friendly materials, for hospitals to comply, and for CMS to enforce the regulations.

First Lady to Lead First-Ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research

 The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will galvanize the Federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health. © Karen Rubin/

While MAGA Republicans are doing their best to undermine women’s rights, health, ability to succeed, President Biden has announced the first-ever White House initiative on Women’s Health Research, to be led by First Lady Jill Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council. The new initiative will fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research. Presently, most medical research is conducted on men, with serious consequences for health of women across the country. Here is a fact sheet from the White House explaining the new initiative:

Despite making up more than half of the population, women have been understudied and underrepresented in health research for far too long. Research on women’s health is drastically underfunded, leading to significant research gaps, with serious consequences for the health of women across the country. This lack of investment limits our understanding of conditions that are specific to women, predominantly affect women, or affect women differently. In order to give women and their health care providers the tools and information that they need to more effectively prevent, diagnose, and treat these conditions – from rheumatoid arthritis to menopause to Alzheimer’s disease to cardiovascular disease to endometriosis – our nation must fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research.
If we act swiftly, we can pioneer the next generation of discoveries in women’s health – improving the lives of millions of women. That’s why, today, President Biden is establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. This new effort will be led by First Lady Jill Biden, who has long championed women’s health, and the White House Gender Policy Council. The Initiative will be chaired by Dr. Carolyn Mazure, an esteemed leader in the field of women’s health research, who will coordinate the Initiative on behalf of the Office of the First Lady and the Gender Policy Council.
“I have always believed in the power of research to save lives and to ensure that Americans get the high-quality health care they need,” President Biden stated. “To achieve scientific breakthroughs and strengthen our ability to prevent, detect, and treat diseases, we have to be bold. That’s why today, we’re establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research so that my Administration—from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Defense—does everything we can to drive innovation in women’s health and close research gaps.”
“Every woman I know has a story about leaving her doctor’s office with more questions than answers,” commented First Lady Jill Biden. “Not because our doctors are withholding information, but because there’s just not enough research yet on how to best manage and treat even common women’s health conditions. In 2023, that is unacceptable. Our new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will help change that by identifying bold solutions to uncover the answers that every woman and her family deserves. We also are calling on congressional leaders, the private sector, research institutions, and philanthropy to join us in taking urgent action to improve the health and lives of women throughout the nation.”
The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will galvanize the Federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health. As a first step, through today’s Presidential Memorandum, the President is directing his Administration to: 

  • Establish an Initiative consisting of executive departments and agencies across the Federal government. Initiative members include Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, and White House offices, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  
  • Deliver concrete recommendations to advance women’s health research. Within 45 days, Initiative members will recommend concrete actions that the Biden-Harris Administration can take to improve how research on women’s health is conducted and maximize the Administration’s investments in women’s health research, including to address health disparities and inequities.
  • Take a targeted, high-impact approach. To deliver results quickly, Initiative members will set priority areas of focus where additional investments could be transformative—in areas of research ranging from heart attacks in women to menopause.
  • Engage the scientific, private sector, and philanthropic communities. The Initiative will explore new public-private partnerships and engage private and philanthropic leaders to drive innovation and ensure the combined power of public, private, and philanthropic sectors advances research on women’s health.

Dr. Carolyn M. Mazure serves as the Chair of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research and has recently joined the Office of the First Lady. Dr. Mazure comes to the White House from the Yale School of Medicine, where she has served as the Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor in Women’s Health Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology. After three years at the National Institutes of Health and fellowship training at Yale, Dr. Mazure joined the Yale faculty as an active clinician and NIH-funded researcher. She created Women’s Health Research at Yale, the university’s interdisciplinary research center on the health of women, which studies a wide breadth of topics from cardiovascular disease to cancers. She holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and did her fellowship and post-doctoral work at Yale School of Medicine.