Today, on the 10th anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law and expanding access to quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans, Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter to President Trump, State Attorneys General, and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves calling on them the drop the lawsuit against the landmark legislation, which would strip millions of their health insurance and gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions—during a global pandemic. Below is the text of Vice President Biden’s letter:
March 23, 2020
Dear President Trump, State Attorneys General, and Governor
All across this nation, Americans are anxious and afraid about the impact the
deadly COVID-19 pandemic is already having on their lives, their families, and
their ability to pay their bills. Individuals and families are stepping up to
do their part––staying home, taking individual precautions and implementing
social distancing, and making donations to support food banks and other vital
service providers, all to protect those most at-risk from the virus in our
communities. Their level of dedication should be matched by their elected
At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing
vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that
you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans
of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA),
including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to
pre-existing conditions. No American should have the added worry right now that
you are in court trying to take away their health care. You are letting partisan rancor and politics
threaten the lives of your constituents, and that is a dereliction of
your sworn duty. I am therefore
calling on each of you to drop your support of litigation to repeal the ACA.
This Monday, March 23, marks 10 years since President Obama signed into law the
ACA. It was—and still is—a big deal for our country, because having
health insurance isn’t just about being able to access health care when you
need it, it’s about the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if your kid
gets sick, you will be able to get them the care they need, or that if you have
an accident, you won’t have to also worry about how to pay your medical bills.
During a public health crisis, it’s part of the assurance that you can seek the
treatment you and your loved ones need. I was proud to stand with President
Obama every day of our Administration, but no day more so than when he signed
the ACA, because of the real security it delivered for every day American
Since 2010, 20 million Americans have gained access to health insurance
coverage. But the ACA also helps tens of millions more Americans across the
country. It is the reason 100 million people with pre-existing
conditions—including conditions like asthma and diabetes that make them at
higher-risk for adverse health impacts from the—don’t have to worry about being
charged more or denied coverage. It is the reason insurance companies can’t
tell patients that they’ve hit an annual or lifetime cap on care.
The litigation you are supporting—Texas
v. U.S.—jeopardizes every single one of those protections and
threatens the peace of mind and access to care for hundreds of millions of
Americans. There is no underlying constitutional flaw with the Affordable Care
Act. In fact, the Supreme Court twice upheld the constitutionality of the law.
The only reason this new case gained traction was because Congressional
Republicans decided to amend the law and zero-out the penalty for not being
insured, and legal experts from across the ideological spectrum have concluded
that this new argument—that this change invalidates the entire law—is legally
The purpose of your suit is to destroy the ACA. Make no mistake: If the ACA did
not exist right now, in this public health crisis, tens of millions of people
would not have health insurance. 100 million would not have protections for the
kind of underlying conditions that make them even more vulnerable to the impact
of COVID-19. Insurance companies would be allowed to place caps on care
provided to individuals. And if you succeed in killing it next year, you’ll put
countless Americans at risk in the next pandemic.
If there was ever a moment to set aside politics, it is now. I have called for
making all testing, treatment, and any eventual vaccine free of charge,
regardless of whether an individual is insured. That is what is needed to
defeat this virus. The last thing we need right now is people avoiding seeking
care because they can’t afford it. But people will still have medical needs not
directly related to COVID-19, which is why every American needs access to
high-quality, affordable health insurance and the pre-existing condition
protections that the law guarantees.
You have in your power the ability to make life safer, healthier, and a little
bit easier for your constituents. All you have to do is drop your support for
this ill-conceived lawsuit, which is even more dangerous and cruel in this
moment of national crisis. History will judge all of us by how we respond to
this pandemic. The public health imperative we now face is bigger than
politics, and it requires all of us to summon the courage to lead and to do
what is right for the American people.
47th Vice President of the United States
Trump, in an address to the nation from the Oval Office, tried to calm fears and most importantly (for him) calm the financial markets after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic and chided nations for underplaying the crisis. Trump spent most of the time self-congratulating himself, calling the crisis “unprecedented” (it’s not), and his actions “historic” (hardly). Trump said nothing about making the health care infrastructure work to save Americans from suffering and needless dying, or for bolstering finances for people who have lost their means of earning money, paying bills, caring for children. His solution, to unilaterally ban travel from Europe (not UK) is absurd. Still no idea how many Americans harbor the infection. He used words like “unprecedented” when this is hardly unprecedented (Spanish flu, Swine flu, Ebola, and months of seeing what happened in China, South Korea, Italy). He kept saying that America will get by because we are the strongest, smartest, best nation that ever existed. Trump’s solution is medieval: pull up the drawbridge, build a wall against foreign invasion. Balderdash. And by the way, YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT: the strong economy was bequeathed by Obama and other predecessors that Trump is frittering away with $1 trillion budget deficits despite (as Trump constantly claims) a historic, strong economy. And what does strong military have to do with coronavirus pandemic? The amount of back-slapping Trump does to himself (“unprecedented steps” which are hardly unprecedented or even dramatic or adequate or on target for the health crisis at hand), and his sychophants, even the “experts” have had to lather praise is disgusting. As for abandoning the partisanship, he means “adore me, go along with whatever I say.” Immediately after, he attacked Nancy Pelosi and Democrats. Here s the speech annotated – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN ADDRESS TO THE NATION
9:02 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans: Tonight, I want to speak with you about our nation’s unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak that started in China and is now spreading throughout the world.
Today, the World Health Organization officially announced that this is a global pandemic.
We have been in frequent contact with our allies, and we are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people.
[And yet the European Union was blindsided by Trump’s sudden ban on travel from Europe but not the UK].
This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confronta foreign virusin modern history. I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens, and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.
From the beginning of time, nations and people have faced unforeseen challenges, including large-scale and very dangerous health threats. This is the way it always was and always will be. It only matters how you respond, and we are responding with great speed and professionalism.
[Hardly ‘unforeseen’ when the outbreak began in December in China and his first response came in March after pooh-poohing.]
Our team is the best anywhere in the world. At the very start of the outbreak, we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China and put in place the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years. We declared a public health emergency and issued the highest level of travel warning on other countries as the virus spread its horrible infection.
And taking early intense action,we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe. [Except you really don’t know how many Americans are harboring the coronavirus because there hasn’t been adequate testing. And back in January, when Seattle doctor suspected coronavirus, federal agencies refused allowing testing, continued to reject the test kits from W.H.O. and relied on faulty, inadequate tests of its own.]
The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.
[That is one of Trump’s ‘blame others’ ‘blame them’ ‘blame Europe’ out of his ass comments. He doesn’t know how the infection came here or where it came from. Those cruise goers didn’t come from Europe.]
After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to takeseveral strong but necessary actions to protect the health and wellbeing of all Americans.
To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground.
There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.
At the same time, we are monitoring the situation in China and in South Korea. And, as their situation improves, we will reevaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening. [There is no travel ban on South Korea.]
Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.
We are cutting massive amounts of red tape to make antiviral therapies available in record time. These treatments will significantly reduce the impact and reach of the virus.
[Treatment still not likely to be available for a year.]
Additionally, last week, I signed into law an $8.3 billion funding bill to help CDC and other government agencies fight the virus and support vaccines, treatments, and distribution of medical supplies. Testing and testing capabilities are expanding rapidly, day by day. We are moving very quickly.
[Who will get that money and supplies? Will Trump steer to “loyal” states and communities like Texas and Florida, and away from places like New York, California, Massachusetts, just as he did with Ukraine’s military aid, George w. Bush did with anti-terror funding after 9/11 and Chris Christie did by shutting down the George Washington bridge to punish Democratic mayors who refused to endorse him?]
The vast majority of Americans: The risk is very, very low.Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus. The highest risk is for elderly population with underlying health conditions. The elderly population must be very, very careful.
[The problem here is that the ‘young, healthy’ people can transmit the infection to others who are vulnerable.]
In particular, we are strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits. In general, older Americans should also avoid nonessential travel in crowded areas.
My administration is coordinating directly with communities with the largest outbreaks, and we have issued guidance on school closures, social distancing, and reducing large gatherings.
Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.
Every community faces different risks and it is critical for you to follow the guidelines of your local officials who are working closely with our federal health experts — and they are the best.
[Here is the key piece: the federal government is failing and useless and has no clue what to do, so Trump needs to rely – and probably blame – state and local officials who are doing their best to keep up with the needs. But key policies need to be made at the federal level. See Nicholas Kristof, “12 Steps to Tackle the Coronavirus” in New York Times of what Trump should have said and done.]
For all Americans, it is essential that everyone take extra precautions and practice good hygiene. Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus. Wash your hands, clean often-used surfaces, cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and most of all, if you are sick or not feeling well, stay home.
To ensure that working Americans impacted by the virus can stay home without fear of financial hardship, I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented, to provide financial relief. This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus.
I will be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend this relief.
Because of the economic policies that we have put into place over the last three years, we have the greatest economy anywhere in the world, by far. [To the extent the US has in fact has greatest economy in the world, it is largely because of his abuse of tariff wars, sanctions, ending aid to undermine other economies.]
Our banks and financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong.
[Thanks Obama! And Dodd Frank.]
Our unemployment is at a historic low. This vast economic prosperity gives us flexibility, reserves, and resources to handle any threat that comes our way.
[He neglects to mention the $1 trillion budget deficits he has run despite his ‘historic’ strong economy, low unemployment. The fact that 40% of all Americans don’t have $400 available to cover an emergency.]
This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.
[The next morning, the Dow plummeted another 2000 points, more than 7%, down to 21,400 from a high of 29,000 just a couple of weeks earlier. Trump was reported to have leveled a tirade at Federal Reserve Chair Powell for failing to cut interest rates even further than the half-point “emergency” cut a week ago.]
However, to provide extra support for American workers, families, and businesses, tonight I am announcing the following additional actions: I am instructing the Small Business Administration to exercise available authority to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus.
Effective immediately, the SBA will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories. These low-interest loans will help small businesses overcome temporary economic disruptions caused by the virus. To this end, I am asking Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion.
Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted. This action will provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy.
[How are the individuals and businesses chosen? What will this do to the Treasury’s ability to pay bills? How does starving the federal government of resources help the situation]
Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief. Hopefully they will consider this very strongly.
[Payroll tax only helps people who are earning wages, not the people who are laid off or lose their jobs. The amount of money is so miniscule, people don’t even realize. And how does starving Medicare and Social Security of funding help? Instead, should be requiring paid sick leave, unemployment benefits expanded to people with fewer hours and contract workers. See Nicholas Kristof.]
We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus. We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay. I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the wellbeing of America first.
[Yet another undeserved pat on the back, and misguided focus on putting up walls instead of gearing up for the spreading epidemic in the country. Some 100 million are projected to get the illness; more than 1 million expected to die. Millions will jam emergency rooms and ICUs. There are only 1 million hospital beds and 700,000 of these are already occupied. People will die of heart attacks and other ailments because they cannot be accommodated. Doctors and nurses and health care workers will get sick or become so overworked they can’t function. Who is available to replace? What is Trump doing about that? Is he setting up mobile clinics, like MASH units? Sending out mobile testing vehicles. Doing drive-by testing as in South Korea which is handling 20,000 tests a day?]
If we are vigilant — and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will — we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. The virus will not have a chance against us.
No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States. We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world.
[More jingoism, American Exceptionalism. America First. Balderdash. Basically his argument is, ‘We will defeat this epidemic because we are The Greatest.’ And by the way, YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT! Obama and predecessors handed Trump a strong economy, rescued from the depths of the Great Recession. Obama created the Affordable Care Act which covered 30 million more people than before, controlled health care costs, enabled more people to become doctors, nurses, health care workers.]
We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship, and unify together as one nation and one family. [Biggest joke-on-America ever, since Trump, who wears a MAGA hat on CDC tour, and tells Pence not to praise Washington Governor Jay Inslee (“a snake”, and accuses Democrats and Nancy Pelosi of perpetrating a hoax in raising alarm about coronavirus in order to undermine him. As for abandoning the partisanship, what he really means, as Moscow Mitch always means when he uses the term “compromise” is “Do what we say, don’t criticize or point out why we are inept, corrupt, and out only for ourselves.”]
[Trump assailed Democrats hours after he implored lawmakers to “stop the partisanship.” Then the markets cratered, unassuaged by his economic proposals, New York Times reported.]
As history has proven time and time again, Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity.
Our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine.Acting with compassion and love, we will heal the sick, care for those in need, help our fellow citizens, and emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified than ever before.
[Such pablum. Trump reads the teleprompter in a monotone, the sentences running one into another. He has no idea what he just said.]
President Joe Biden, in the race for the Democratic nomination for President,
has staked out a position on improving on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
as his solution to providing universal healthcare – essentially, enabling people keep their
private insurance but creating a new public option. That is more moderate than
the Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who want a more extreme
Medicare for All that replaces private insurance (though it is unlikely that
there will not still be a market for supplemental private insurance, just as
there is now for Medicare). Here, is the Biden campaign’s description and
rationale for Biden’s plan to protect and build upon the Affordable Care Act: – Karen Rubin, News&
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the
Affordable Care Act into law, with Vice President Biden standing by his side,
and made history. It was a victory 100 years in the making. It was the
conclusion of a tough fight that required taking on Republicans, special
interests, and the status quo to do what’s right. But the Obama-Biden
Administration got it done.
But, every day over the past nine years, the Affordable Care Act has been under
Immediately after its passage, Congressional Republicans began trying again and
again to repeal it. Following the lead of President
Trump, Republicans in Congress have only doubled down on this
approach since January 2017. And, since repeal through Congress has not been
working, President Trump has been unilaterally doing everything he can to
sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Now, the Trump Administration is trying to
get the entire law – including protections for people with pre-existing
conditions – struck down in court.
As president, Biden will protect the Affordable Care Act from
these continued attacks. He opposes every effort to get rid of this historic
law – including efforts by Republicans, and efforts by Democrats. Instead of
starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance, he has a plan
to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing
health care costs, and making our health care system less complex
For Biden, this is personal. He believes that every American has a right to the
peace of mind that comes with knowing they have access to affordable, quality
health care. He knows that no one in this country should have to lay in bed at
night staring at the ceiling wondering, “what will I do if she gets breast cancer?”
or “if he has a heart attack?” “Will I go bankrupt?” He knows there is no peace
of mind if you cannot afford to care for a sick child or a family member
because of a pre-existing condition, because you’ve reached a point where your
health insurer says “no more,” or because you have to make a decision between
putting food on the table and going to the doctor or filling a prescription.
In the coming months, Joe Biden will build on today’s plan by rolling out his
proposals to tackle some of our greatest public health challenges – from
reducing gun violence to curing devastating diseases as we know them like
cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and addiction.
I. GIVE EVERY AMERICAN ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE
From the time right before the Affordable Care Act’s key coverage-related
policies went into effect to the last full year of the Obama-Biden
Administration, 2016, the number of Americans lacking health insurance fell
from 44 million to 27 million –
an almost 40% drop. But President Trump’s persistent efforts to sabotage
Obamacare through executive action, after failing in his efforts to repeal it
through Congress, have started to reverse this progress. Since 2016, the number
of uninsured Americans has increased by
roughly 1.4 million.
As president, Biden will stop this reversal of the progress made by Obamacare.
And he won’t stop there. He’ll also build on the Affordable Care Act with a
plan to insure more than an estimated 97% of Americans. Here’s how:
Giving Americans a new choice, a public
health insurance option like Medicare. If your insurance
company isn’t doing right by you, you should have another, better choice.
Whether you’re covered through your employer, buying your insurance on your
own, or going without coverage altogether, the Biden Plan will give you the
choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. As in
Medicare, the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating
lower prices from hospitals and other health care providers. It also will better coordinate among
all of a patient’s doctors to improve the efficacy and quality of their care,
and cover primary care without any co-payments. And it will bring relief to
small businesses struggling to afford coverage for their employees.
Increasing the value of tax credits to
lower premiums and extend coverage to more working Americans. Today,
families that make between 100% and 400% of the
federal poverty level may receive a tax credit to reduce how
much they have to pay for health insurance on the individual marketplace. The
dollar amount of the financial assistance is calculated to ensure each family
does not have to pay more than a certain percentage of their
income on a silver (medium generosity) plan. But, these shares of
income are too high and silver plans’ deductibles are too high. Additionally,
many families making more than 400% of the federal poverty level (about $50,000 for a single person
and $100,000 for a family of four), and thus not qualifying for
financial assistance, still struggle to afford health insurance. The Biden Plan
will help middle class families by eliminating the 400% income cap on tax
credit eligibility and lowering the limit on the cost of coverage from 9.86% of
income to 8.5%. This means that no family buying insurance on the individual
marketplace, regardless of income, will have to spend more than 8.5% of their
income on health insurance. Additionally, the Biden Plan will increase the size
of tax credits by calculating them based on the
cost of a more generous gold plan, rather than a silver plan. This
will give more families the ability to afford more generous coverage, with
lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
Expanding coverage to low-income
Americans. Access to affordable health insurance
shouldn’t depend on your state’s politics. But today, state politics is getting
in the way of coverage for millions of low-income Americans. Governors and
state legislatures in 14 states have
refused to take up the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility,
denying access to Medicaid for an estimated 4.9 million adults.
Biden’s plan will ensure these individuals get covered by offering premium-free
access to the public option for those 4.9 million individuals who would be
eligible for Medicaid but for their state’s inaction, and making sure their
public option covers the full scope of Medicaid benefits. States that have
already expanded Medicaid will have the choice of moving the expansion
population to the premium-free public option as long as the states continue to
pay their current share of the cost of covering those individuals.
Additionally, Biden will ensure people making below 138% of the federal poverty
level get covered. He’ll do this by automatically enrolling these individuals
when they interact with certain institutions (such as public schools) or other
programs for low-income populations (such as SNAP).
II. PROVIDE THE PEACE OF MIND OF
AFFORDABLE, QUALITY HEALTH CARE AND A LESS COMPLEX HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
Today, even for people with health insurance, our health care system is too
expensive and too hard to navigate. The Biden Plan will not only provide
coverage for uninsured Americans, it will also make health care more affordable
and less complex for all.
The plan’s elements described above will help reduce the cost of health
insurance and health care for those already insured in the following ways:
All Americans will have a new, more
affordable option. The public option, like Medicare,
will negotiate prices with providers, providing a more affordable option for
many Americans who today find their health insurance too expensive.
Middle class families will get a premium
tax credit to help them pay for coverage. For
example, take a family of four with an income of $110,000 per year. If they
currently get insurance on the individual marketplace, because their premium
will now be capped at 8.5% of their income, under the Biden Plan they will
save an estimated $750 per month on
insurance alone. That’s cutting their premiums almost in half. If a family is
covered by their employer but can get a better deal with the 8.5% premium cap,
they can switch to a plan on the individual marketplace, too.
Premium tax credits will be calculated
to help more families afford better coverage with lower deductibles. Because
the premium tax credits will now be calculated based on the price of a more
generous gold plan, families will be able to purchase a plan with a lower
deductible and lower out-of-pocket spending. That means many families will see
their overall annual health care spending go down.
The Biden Plan has several additional proposals
aimed directly at cutting the cost of health care and making the health care
system less complex to navigate. The Biden Plan will:
Stop “surprise billing.” Consumers
trying to lower their health care spending often try to choose an in-network
provider. But sometimes patients are unaware they are receiving care from an
out-of-network provider and a big, surprise bill. “Surprise medical billing”
could occur, for example, if you go to an in-network hospital but don’t realize
a specialist at that hospital is not part of your health plan. The Biden Plan
will bar health care providers from charging patients out-of-network rates when
the patient doesn’t have control over which provider the patient sees (for
example, during a hospitalization).
Tackle market concentration across our
health care system. The concentration of market power
in the hands of a few corporations is occurring throughout our health care system,
and this lack of competition is driving up prices for consumers.
The Biden Administration will aggressively use its existing antitrust authority
to address this problem.
Lower costs and improve health outcomes
by partnering with the health care workforce. The Biden
Administration will partner with health care workers and accelerate the testing
and deployment of innovative solutions that improve quality of care and
increase wages for low-wage health care workers, like home care workers.
III. STAND UP TO ABUSE OF POWER BY
PRESCRIPTION DRUG CORPORATIONS
Too many Americans cannot afford their prescription drugs, and prescription
drug corporations are profiteering off of the pocketbooks of sick individuals.
The Biden Plan will put a stop to runaway drug prices and the profiteering of
the drug industry by:
Repealing the outrageous exception
allowing drug corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices. Because
Medicare covers so many Americans, it has significant leverage to negotiate
lower prices for its beneficiaries. And it does so for hospitals and other
providers participating in the program, but not drug manufacturers. Drug
manufacturers not facing any competition, therefore, can charge whatever price
they choose to set. There’s no justification for this except the power of
prescription drug lobbying. The Biden Plan will repeal the existing law
explicitly barring Medicare from negotiating lower prices with drug
Limiting launch prices for drugs that
face no competition and are being abusively priced by manufacturers. Through
his work on the Cancer Moonshot, Biden understands that the future of
pharmacological interventions is not traditional chemical drugs but specialized
biotech drugs that will have little to no competition to keep prices in check.
Without competition, we need a new approach for keeping the prices of these
drugs down. For these cases where new specialty drugs without competition are
being launched, under the Biden Plan the Secretary of Health and Human Services
will establish an independent review board to assess their value. The board
will recommend a reasonable price, based on the average price in other countries
(a process called external reference pricing)
or, if the drug is entering the U.S. market first, based on an evaluation by
the independent board members. This reasonable price will be the rate Medicare
and the public option will pay. In addition, the Biden Plan will allow private
plans participating in the individual marketplace to access a similar rate.
Limiting price increases for all brand,
biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs to inflation. As
a condition of participation in the Medicare program and public option, all
brand, biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs will be prohibited from
increasing their prices more than the general inflation rate. The Biden Plan
will also impose a tax penalty on drug manufacturers that increase the costs of
their brand, biotech, or abusively priced generic over the general inflation
Allowing consumers to buy prescription
drugs from other countries. To create more competition
for U.S. drug corporations, the Biden Plan will allow consumers to import
prescription drugs from other countries, as long as the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services has certified that those drugs are safe.
Improving the supply of quality
generics. Generics help reduce health care spending, but
brand drug corporations have succeeded in preserving a number of strategies to
help them delay the entrance of a generic into the market even after the patent
has expired. The Biden Plan supports numerous proposals to accelerate the
development of safe generics, such as Senator Patrick Leahy’s proposal to
make sure generic manufacturers have access to a sample.
IV. ENSURE HEALTH CARE IS A RIGHT FOR
ALL, NOT A PRIVILEGE FOR JUST A FEW
Joe Biden believes that every American – regardless of gender, race, income,
sexual orientation, or zip code – should have access to affordable and quality
health care. Yet racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of
discrimination permeate our health care system just as in every other part of
society. As president, Biden will be a champion for improving access to health
care and the health of all by:
Expanding access to contraception and
protect the constitutional right to an abortion. The
Affordable Care Act made historic progress by ensuring access to free preventive care, including
contraception. The Biden Plan will build on that progress. Vice
President Biden supports repealing the Hyde Amendment because health care is a
right that should not be dependent on one’s zip code or income. And, the public
option will cover contraception and a woman’s constitutional right to choose.
In addition, the Biden Plan will:
1) Reverse the Trump Administration and states’
all-out assault on women’s right to choose. As president, Biden will work to
codify Roe v. Wade, and
his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of
state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion,
such as so-called TRAP laws, parental
notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound
2) Restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
The Obama-Biden administration fought Republican attacks on funding for Planned
Parenthood again and again. As president, Biden will reissue guidance specifying
that states cannot refuse Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other
providers that refer for abortions or provide related information and reverse
the Trump Administration’s rule preventing
Planned Parenthood and certain other family planning programs from obtaining
Title X funds.
3) Just as the Obama-Biden Administration did, President Biden
will rescind the Mexico City Policy (also referred to as the global gag rule) that
President Trump reinstated and
expanded. This rule currently bars the U.S. federal government from supporting
important global health efforts – including for malaria and HIV/AIDS – in
developing countries simply because the organizations providing that aid also
offer information on abortion services.
Reducing our unacceptably high maternal
mortality rate, which especially impacts people of color. Compared
to other developed nations, the U.S. has the highest rate of
deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth, and we are the only country
experiencing an increase in this death rate. This problem is especially
prevalent among black women, who experience a death rate from complications
related to pregnancy that is more than three times higher than
the rate for non-Hispanic white women. California came up with a strategy
that halved the state’s
maternal death rate. As president, Biden will take this strategy nationwide.
Defending health care protections for
all, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Before
the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could increase premiums merely due
to someone’s gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Further, insurance
companies could increase premiums or deny coverage altogether due to someone’s HIV status. Yet,
President Trump is trying to walk back this progress. For example, he has proposed to once
again allow health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate based
on a patient’s gender identity or abortion history. President Biden will defend
the rights of all people – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender
identity – to have access to quality, affordable health care free from
Doubling America’s investment in
community health centers. Community health centers
provide primary, prenatal, and other important care to underserved populations.
The Biden Plan will double the federal investment in these centers, expanding
access to high quality health care for the populations that need it most.
In the months ahead, Biden will put forward
additional plans to tackle health challenges affecting specific communities,
including access to health care in rural communities, gun violence, and opioid
SUPPORTING HEALTH, NOT REWARDING
Joe Biden believes in rewarding work, not just wealth – and investing in
hard-working Americans’ health, not protecting the most privileged Americans’
wealth. Warren Buffett said it best when he stated that he should not pay a
lower tax rate than his secretary.
The Biden Plan will make health care a right by getting rid of capital gains
tax loopholes for the super wealthy. Today, the very wealthy pay a tax rate of
just 20% on long-term capital gains. According to the Joint Committee on
Taxation, the capital gains and dividends exclusion is the second largest tax
expenditure in the entire tax code: $127 billion in fiscal year 2019
alone. As President, Biden will roll back the Trump rate cut for the
very wealthy and restore the 39.6% top rate he helped restore when he negotiated an end to the Bush
tax cuts for the wealthy in 2012.
Biden’s capital gains reform will close the loopholes that allow the super
wealthy to avoid taxes on capital gains altogether. The Biden plan will assure
those making over $1 million will pay the top rate on capital gains, doubling
the capital gains tax rate on the super wealthy.
WATCH: Joe Biden
talks more about the need to build on and protect ACA in THIS new video.