Biden points to drug prices as McCarthy speakership implodes

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden delivers remarks during an event celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Evan Vucci/AP

Biden points to drug prices as McCarthy speakership implodes

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The White House sought to capitalize on the House descending into chaos by drawing a contrast between Republicans ending Rep. Kevin McCarthy‘s (R-CA) speakership and President Joe Biden‘s drug pricing program.

But despite 10 drug manufacturers agreeing to negotiate their prices with Medicare, Biden is still struggling to improve public opinion of his economic policies, or Bidenomics.


The White House is “gaslighting” the country by misrepresenting its “extortive price setting scheme” as “a negotiation” and “exaggerating potential savings for seniors,” according to Joe Grogan, a domestic policy adviser to former President Donald Trump.

“The big government takeover of this process, which is likely unconstitutional, will put bureaucrats atop a process they are scarcely prepared to run,” Grogan, now a University of South Carolina Schaeffer Center senior fellow, told the Washington Examiner. “Most importantly, it will have far-reaching negative impacts on America’s medical innovation, on which the world depends.”

“Make no mistake, these 10 drug companies didn’t agree to negotiate so much as they were driven by the threat of ruinous civil penalties to participate in a Soviet-style price setting scam,” he said.

Biden’s drug pricing program, introduced through the Democrats-only Inflation Reduction Act, moves healthcare “toward what’s standard government control of healthcare in many other nations,” per Conservatives for Property Rights Executive Director James Edwards.

“In European and other socialized medicine countries, that means putting bureaucrats between providers and patients, undercutting medical R&D funding and reducing innovation, and expanding the grip of the state over every facet of the health system,” he said. “President Biden will own these bleak consequences, but it will be too late for the American people.”

But the White House and Biden’s reelection campaign remain undeterred, with polling indicating inflation and healthcare are among voters’ top concerns. Administration and campaign aides repeatedly emailed reporters Tuesday about the drug pricing program and Biden’s record helping the middle class, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre starting her briefing by speaking about those issues.

“The American people deserve leadership that puts the issues affecting their lives front and center, as President Biden did today with more historic action to lower prescription drug prices,” she added later in a statement. “Once the House has met their responsibility to elect a speaker, he looks forward to working together with them and with the Senate to address the American people’s priorities.”

In multiple memos, Jean-Pierre’s colleague Andrew Bates reiterated how House Republicans have tried to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and Medicare’s negotiating authority.

“That’s not all,” he said. “House Republicans are even endorsing Big Pharma’s lawsuits to protect their capacity to charge exorbitant prices free from negotiation. American families should not have to choose between medicines and other necessities like food.”

Biden announced Tuesday that the manufacturers of Enbrel, Entresto, Farxiga, Fiasp, Imbruvica, Januvia, Jardiance, NovoLog, Stalara, and Xarelto — which, combined, contributed to $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for an estimated 9 million Medicare enrollees last year — will negotiate their drug prices with Medicare after being chosen by the administration. The medications treat conditions from arthritis and diabetes to heart failure, kidney disease, and blood clots, even blood cancer. The prices of up to another 50 drugs covered by Medicare Part D and B will be discussed over the next four years, with up to an additional 20 medications considered every year after that.

But with the new drug prices not scheduled to take effect until 2026, they may not increase Biden’s average net negative 24 percentage point economic approval rating, according to RealClearPolitics.


In the meantime, Biden’s campaign emphasized Bidenomics on Tuesday with a new national cable and battleground TV ad, “Never Left,” about the president’s middle-class roots and attempts to lower prices as part of a $25 million 16-week push on Dancing With the Stars and Bachelor in Paradise to the NFL.

“Whether it’s taking on Big Pharma to cut prescription drug costs, lowering healthcare premiums for millions of Americans, or reducing energy bills for American families, fighting for the middle class isn’t an empty campaign promise for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — it’s their political DNA,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said. “This ad serves as an early reminder of the choice Americans will face next year: between MAGA Republicans whose agenda would give tax handouts to the ultra-rich at the expense of working people, or Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ agenda for the middle class.”

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