President Biden made a promise during his campaign that America’s seniors would pay less for healthcare, and he recently traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate the millions of older adults that will save money on their medication due to the health care legislation he championed last year. The Inflation Reduction Act will no longer require seniors to make co-payments for some recommended vaccines, saving them an average of $70 each year in the future. Biden stated that this was about dignity and security, not just health.
During the 2020 election, Biden lost to former President Donald J. Trump among people aged 65 and older, with 48 percent of the vote to Trump’s 52 percent. As the possibility of his re-election announcement grows closer, the president and his advisers are hoping to gain more support among older Americans by arguing that their financial and medical security will be better protected with him in office. The administration argues that older Americans will also be grateful for Biden’s efforts to keep healthcare costs down, especially when it comes to medication, as prices have been rising sharply.
The president highlighted the impact that his healthcare actions have had on the cost of insulin, which is a common drug for many seniors who suffer from diabetes. The president’s healthcare law caps the price of insulin at $35 per month for older adults, and he has succeeded in persuading two of the three biggest drug manufacturers to lower costs for younger people in need of insulin. Eli Lilly announced this month that it would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at the same $35, and Novo Nordisk said it would cut the cost of its insulin drug by 75 percent.
Biden’s policy ambitions are now part of a political effort to win back some in the older demographic who have trended towards Republicans as the average age of people living in the country increases each year. A group of about two-dozen Republican lawmakers is pushing legislation to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, a move that White House officials and the president have seized on. Biden wants to make his Republican White House rival pay for a repeal effort by suggesting that it will hurt older adults. The White House said that efforts to repeal the law “would give tens of billions of dollars in subsidies back to Big Pharma, raise seniors’ prescription drug prices, and raise taxes on an estimated 14.5 million people – all while increasing the deficit.”
Biden’s visit to Las Vegas comes just weeks before he is expected to announce that he is running for a second term. Nevada is a critical swing state that Democrats need in their column if they want to retain control of the White House for another four years. In 2020, Biden won the state with 50.06 percent of the vote, to Trump’s 47.67 percent. Wednesday’s speech took place at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, a nod to the service unions that are extremely powerful in Las Vegas and an important Democratic constituency.