Joe Biden on Health Care

Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)


Cut cost of prescription drugs, cap insulin at $35 a month

Cut the cost of prescription drugs. Just look at insulin. One in ten Americans has diabetes. In Virginia, I met a 13-year-old boy named Joshua Davis. He and his Dad both have Type 1 diabetes, which means they need insulin every day. Insulin costs about $10 a vial to make.

But drug companies charge families like Joshua and his Dad up to 30 times more. For Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let's cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.

As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch. Medicare is going to set higher standards for nursing homes and make sure your loved ones get the care they deserve and expect.

Source: 2022 State of the Union address , Mar 1, 2022

ARPA-H: end cancer as we know it

Let's end cancer as we know it. Our goal is to cut the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, turn more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases. To get there, I call on Congress to fund ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. It's based on DARPA--the Defense Department project that led to the Internet, GPS, and so much more. ARPA-H will have a singular purpose--to drive breakthroughs in cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and more.
Source: 2022 State of the Union address , Mar 1, 2022

Individual mandate is constitutional even with $0 tax

Vox.com summary:The CA v. TX case was brought by Texas officials who object to ObamaCare, centered on the law's individual mandate [which] required most Americans to either obtain health insurance or pay higher taxes. In 2017, Congress amended ObamaCare to zero out this tax. The Texas plaintiffs claimed that this zeroed-out tax is unconstitutional and also claimed that the entire law must be declared invalid if the zero dollar tax is stuck down. In a 7-2 ruling, the Court ruled that no one is allowed to bring suit to challenge a provision of law that does nothing.

Biden in Reuters:"A big win for the American people," President Joe Biden, whose administration opposed the lawsuit, wrote in a Twitter post, adding that millions of people rely upon the law for healthcare coverage while encouraging others to sign up. Biden has pledged to expand healthcare access and buttress ObamaCare. Biden had criticized Republican efforts to strike down the law during a pandemic.

Source: Reuters on 2021 SCOTUS ruling:ÿ"California v. Texas" , Jun 17, 2021

No transgendered discrimination by healthcare providers

PROMISE MADE: (JoeBiden.com campaign website): Trump has proposed to allow health care providers to discriminate based on a patient's gender identity. 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 discrimination.

PROMISE PARTLY KEPT: (NBC News, 5/10/21): The Biden administration is reversing a policy introduced that limited protections for transgender people in health care. In a victory for LGBTQ advocates, the change will bar health care providers who receive federal funding from discriminating based on someone's gender identity or sexual orientation.

ANALYSIS: If a transgendered person goes to an HMO that doesn't receive federal funding, it's still legal to discriminate against them for being transgendered--that's not "all people"! To address private HMOs would require state and federal legislation.

Source: NBC News on Biden Administration promises , May 10, 2021

Create an advanced research project agency for health

The NIH should create an advanced research project agency for health. It would have a singular purpose: to develop breakthroughs to prevent, detect and treat diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer. I'll still never forget when we passed the cancer proposal in the last year I was vice president, almost $9 million going to NIH. I know of nothing that is more bipartisan, so let's end cancer as we know it. It is within our power to do it.
Source: 2021 State of the Union address , Apr 28, 2021

Public option is not socialism

Q: Your healthcare plan includes a government insurance option. Does that take the country one step closer to a healthcare system run entirely by the government?

BIDEN: I say it's ridiculous. It's like saying that the fact that there's a public option that people can choose, that makes it a socialist plan? Look, the difference between the president and me: I think healthcare is not a privilege, it's a right. Everyone should have the right to have affordable healthcare, and I am very proud of my plan.

TRUMP: He wants socialized medicine. His vice president, she wants it even more. The Democrats want it. You're going to have socialized medicine.

BIDEN: People deserve to have affordable healthcare, period. Period, period, period. And the Biden care proposal will in fact provide for that affordable healthcare. What we're going to do is going to cost some money. It's going to cost over $750 billion over 10 years to do it. And they're going to have lower premiums.

Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker , Oct 22, 2020

President must tell whole truth about his health

Biden says he would be transparent about his health as president, but he offered some potential caveats. Biden said that "you have to tell the whole truth" about your health as president but not necessarily "moment to moment" as a health scare plays out. Asked whether he'd ever hold back some part of his health status, Biden said he do it "only on the margins and only for the moment."
Source: WREX-13 NBC-TV coverage of 2020 NBC News Town Hall , Oct 5, 2020

Allow serious return on investment in new drugs, not gouging

Q: Your drug pricing policy?

BIDEN: What I proposed is that for every new drug coming on the market--everything from dementia drugs to Alzheimer's to cancer to diabetes--we're going to put together a 25-person commission of scientific experts, and every new drug you're seeking approval of will go before that commission. And you are going to indicate how much you invested to provide that drug. You'll get a serious return on your investment, but once that price is set, that's the only price you can sell it for, or you're not going to get the drug approved. Once that is done, then you cannot come along and up the price exponentially. You can only up the price once it's set through inflation or if you can demonstrate there has been something specifically done to improve the drug. The American public understands that there is so much price gouging for things that should be a basic right to access--things that allow you to live.

Source: AARP Survey on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Sep 28, 2020

We can beat cancer: invest more money in research

BIDEN: We can beat cancer. The president allowed me to run the Cancer Moonshot. I visited virtually every major cancer research facility in the world. One of the things that came out of that was that there are a number of brilliant researchers and clinicians, but they didn't talk to each other very much. They didn't share data very much. I truly believe we're going to invest considerably more money in research and NIH and make a major, major effort, because we can fundamentally change cancer.
Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention Biden/Harris Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

COVID19: make sure there's free testing & free treatment

[The next recovery package] will have to provide health care coverage for millions who lose their insurance, by allowing them to stay on their health care plans and covering the cost, as well as reopening enrollment for ObamaCare and creating the public option I've been calling for. And we must--must--make sure not only that every American can be tested for coronavirus free of cost, but also make sure every American can be treated for coronavirus free of cost. Period.
Source: Medium.com blog on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 9, 2020

Lower Medicare eligibility age to 60

I have directed my team to develop a plan to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60. Medicare benefits would be provided to them as they are to current Medicare recipients. This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans or other plans before they retire. It reflects the reality that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs.
Source: Medium.com blog on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 9, 2020

Public option for ObamaCare; $50 billion for research

Q: How do you plan to fix the Affordable Care Act's problems?

BIDEN: I would restore all the cuts this president has made in the Affordable Care Act, across the board. I add what they call a public option, and that is a Medicare-like option. If you wanted to buy into that option or if you didn't have the money, you would be able to get it for free. So it's Medicare if you want it. If you qualify for Medicaid and you don't have it in your state, you're automatically enrolled. There is no waiting for anything.

Secondly, we make sure we reduce drug prices, as well, allowing Medicare to be able to negotiate with the drug companies the cost of drugs. And I would invest over $50 billion to focus on the diseases that cause the most damage and cost the most--cancer, Alzheimer's, and obesity.

We should have a department that says what we're going to do is spend the money needed that the drug companies are unwilling to spend or unable to spend to make sure that we find cures.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 with Anderson Cooper , Feb 20, 2020

Got ObamaCare passed and will expand it

I'm the guy the president turned to and said, go get the votes for ObamaCare. And I notice what everybody's talking about is the plan that I first introduced. That is to go and add to ObamaCare, provide a public option, a Medicare-like option. And increase the subsidies. It cost a lot of money. It cost $750 billion over 10 years. But I paid for it by making sure that Mike and other people pay at the same tax rate their secretary pays at.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

My Medicare if you want it plan is affordable

My proposal gives you a choice. You're going to be covered. You have prescription prices, reduce copays, et cetera. And it cost a lot of money, it costs $750 billion over 10 years. I tell you how I'm going to pay for it. I'm going to raise the capital gains rates
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Biden Cancer Initiative: data from multiple researchers

I believe we can cure some cancers and make other cancers a chronic disease. [In 2017,] I left office and set up the Biden Cancer Initiative. Docs don't play well in the sandbox together. It's not that they don't work like the devil. They work hard. But now we can do a million, billion calculations a second. We're in a position where we can exchange information that's real. And what I was able to do with the Cancer Initiative was to turn this from an objective into a movement. We're learning that there may be multiple drugs needed to deal with a particular strain of cancer, just like with AIDS. But the idea of getting folks working on the same cancer strain to give you their information is almost zero. So I suggested, assign a numerical value to the effort you have underway, if you put your research on the table, and then we find a cure, it's worth 28% of whatever we do, yours is 17%, and go down the list. If, in fact, you get a cure for a particular drug, you get 28% or you get 16%.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Tax capital gains at bracket levels to pay for health plan

Q: The Affordable Care Act has been gutted, most notably the individual mandate.

BIDEN: I'm going to restore the cuts, reduce out-of-pocket expenses and premiums, and add a Medicare option for those who want it. If you have private insurance, and you like it, keep it. If they cancel the policy, you can buy into the Biden plan. I'm adding $1 billion for dealing with drug abuse and opioids. I can pay for it by making sure people pay their capital gains at whatever their tax rate is.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Invest $50B in new agency to fight cancer

When I was asked to put together this cancer initiative, they asked why I brought in NASA. Guess who knows more about radiation than anybody in the world? We have a thing called DARPA, the defense agency. They came up with geo-positioning, and a whole range of other things. It's a separate agency, works on specific programs that will impact defense capabilities. I want to do the same thing for the Department of Health and provide ARPA [for health] and invest $50 billion in that agency.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Medicare-for-all plan costs $30 trillion & will raise taxes

Sen. Bernie Sanders [to V.P. Biden]: Joe, you asked me how are we going to pay for [my healthcare plan]? Under your plan, I'll tell you how we're paying for right now. The average family makes $60,000 a year, and pays $12,000 a year for health care--20% of their income. Under Medicare-for-all that family will be paying $1,200 a year.

Joe Biden: [Sen. Sanders' healthcare plan] costs $30 trillion. Let's get that straight--$30 trillion over 10 years. The idea that you're going to be able to save that person making $60,000 a year on Medicare-for-all is preposterous. 16% of the American public is on Medicare now and everybody has a tax taken out of their paycheck now. Tell me, you're going to add 84% more and it's not going to be higher taxes, at least before he was honest about it. It's going to increase personal taxes.

Sanders: That's right. We got to increase personal taxes, but we're eliminating premiums, we're eliminating copayments, we're eliminating deductibles.

Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Straightforward approach on healthcare, not ten year plans

Q [to Senator Harris]: This week you released a new health care plan which would preserve private insurance and take 10 years to phase in. Biden's campaign calls your plan "a have-it-every-which-way approach" and says it's part of a confusing pattern of equivocating about your health care stance. Your response?

HARRIS: I have been listening to American families, who said four years is just not enough to transition into this new plan, so I devised a plan where it's going to be 10 years of a transition. I listened to American families who said I want an option that will be under your Medicare system that allows a private plan.

BIDEN: Any time someone tells you you're going to get something good in 10 years, you should wonder why it takes 10 years. And the plan in 10 years will cost $3 trillion. You will lose your employer-based insurance. This is the single most important issue facing the public. And to be very straightforward, you can't beat President Trump with double-talk on this plan.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Limit co-pays to $1,000; keep your own insurance

Sen. Kamala Harris: Your plan will keep and allow insurance companies to remain with status quo, doing business as usual.

Biden: My plan makes a limit of co-pay to be $1,000, because we further support the ability to buy into ObamaCare. No one has to keep their private insurance, but if they like their insurance, they should be able to keep it. Nothing is demanded in my plan that there be private insurance. If the 160 million who have it like their employer insurance, they should have a right to have it. If they don't, they can buy into the Biden plan.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Future of healthcare is biopharma; control those prices

Sen. Kamala Harris: By your own definition, as many as 10 million people will not have access to healthcare. For a Democrat to be running for president with a plan that does not cover everyone, I think is without excuse.

Biden: My plan will cover everyone. Number two, the fact is that my plan also calls for controlling drug prices. Biopharma is now where things are going to go. It's no longer chemicals. It's about all these breakthroughs that we have with the immune system. What we have to do is have a form that says, as you develop a drug, you got to come to us and decide what you can sell it for. We will set the price. And secondly, you cannot raise that price beyond the cost of inflation from this point on.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

I have only plan limiting insurance companies

Sen. Kamala Harris: Under your plan, you do nothing to hold the insurance companies to task for what they have been doing to American families.

Biden: I have the only plan that limits the ability of insurance companies to charge unreasonable prices, flat out, number one. Number two, we should put some of these insurance executives who totally oppose my plan in jail for the $9 billion opioids they sell out there.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Cover undocumented immigrants to reduce overall cost of care

You cannot let people who are sick, no matter where they come from, no matter what their status, go uncovered. It's the humane thing to do. They've increased the lifespan of Social Security because they have a job, they're paying a Social Security tax. They do the same thing in terms of reducing the overall cost of health care by being able to be treated and not wait until they are in extremis.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

National effort to cure cancer by genomics

[After his son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015] , Joe opened up about his grief on television. "Sometimes it just sort of overwhelms you," he said. "[There are] so many people who have losses as severe, or maybe worse, than mine, and don't have the with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer'" Obama said. "Tonight, I'm announcing a new national effort to get it done. And I'm putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we've all lost, for the family we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all."

In June 2016, Biden unveiled the federal Genomic Data Commons--a database for consolidating all the key clinical trials, stats, and treatments [among other actions on the "Cancer Moonshot"].

Source: The Book of Joe, by Jeff Wilser, p.165-6 , Oct 24, 2017

Increased funding for NIH to highest level in a decade

President Obama: "Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn't deny Sputnik was up there. We didn't argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon.

"You know, last year, Vice President Biden said that, with a new moon-shot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources that they've had in over a decade. .

"So tonight, I'm announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he's gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I'm putting Joe in charge of mission control. For the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. What do you think? Let's make it happen. And medical research is critical."

Source: 2016 State of the Union address , Jan 12, 2016

Moonshot on cancer: increase resources, cooperation

I called for a "moonshot" to cure cancer. I plan to do two things.
  1. Increase resources--both private and public--to fight cancer.
  2. Break down silos and bring all the cancer fighters together--to work together, share information, and end cancer as we know it.
And the goal of this initiative is simple--to double the rate of progress. We'll encourage leading cancer centers to reach unprecedented levels of cooperation, so we can learn more about this disease and how to stop it in its tracks.
Source: Medium.com blog by V.P. Biden , Jan 12, 2016

Modernize, simplify & expand health insurance

His plan for dealing with the healthcare crisis is vague to nonexistent, with references to containing costs by “modernizing” and “simplifying” the system; “expanding” health insurance; and looking at “innovative alternatives” pioneered by the states to “evaluate what works best in providing affordable access to healthcare for all.”
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.180 , Nov 11, 2007

Help medical students find ways to finance their tuition

You got to help them pay off their education. They start off in the hole. They graduate and have these gigantic bills, 40,000 bucks a year. They graduate hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. You got to give them ability to write that off if they engage in public service, move into areas where they need doctors, and get the insurance company out of looking over their shoulders & everything. They know the decisions to make and what they should be doing. They should be rewarded for their decisions.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Rethink healthcare by focusing on prevention

Q: Do we need to fundamentally rethink the way we view health care?

A: Absolutely. We have to view it in three ways. Prevention. You know, an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure is real. We virtually do not have anything that rewards those people who are engaged in their physician’s or insurer’s companies that emphasize prevention. The second thing we have to do is we have to provide for changing the way we think of it as an employer-based system totally. We have an overwhelming opportunity now to get universal health care, because business needs more than labor or business needs it more than the uninsured. They cannot compete internationally. We have to think about it really differently, but the delivery of health care we have to think about differently, too. The idea we’re not going to be opening up little clinics in shopping centers all across America that is going to generate avoidance of operating of emergency rooms is just not reasonable.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Start with catastrophic insurance and insuring all kids

Q: How would you address the millions of uninsured, and the cost for those insured?

A: We need not just 100,000 new cops, but 100,000 new nurses that we fund in order to make things better. We have to be in a position where we don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. In the first year, I’d insure every single, solitary child in America and make sure catastrophic insurance exists, and for every single person in America, while we move toward a national health care system covering anybody.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Survived two aneurysms in the 1990s

Joe Biden of Delaware last ran for the presidency in 1988. He's been into he Senate going on thirty years. Right from the start, Joe has a fire-in-his-belly problem: People will ask, rightly, whether he has it. Without it, as Fritz Mondale once remarked (and never lived down), you're facing a long road of Holiday Inns.

Running is a horrible strain, and those with long memories will recall that Biden survived two aneurysms more than a decade ago. Racing to Iowa every spare second to go to farm breakfasts at 5:30 a.m., making calls every minute begging for money, flying commercial (coach, no less) day after day, gets old awfully fast if you don't have that fire in your belly.

Source: The Case for Hillary Clinton, by Susan Estrich, p.166 , Oct 17, 2005

Joe Biden on ObamaCare

Give Medicare power to negotiate lower prescription prices

Let's lower prescription drug costs. We know how to do this. We all know how outrageously expensive drugs are in America. In fact, we pay the highest prescription drug prices of anywhere in the world, right here in America. Nearly three times for the same drug, nearly three times what other countries pay. We have to change that. And we can. Let's give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower drug prescription prices.
Source: 2021 State of the Union address , Apr 28, 2021

Cap insurance at 8.5% of income instead of 10%

PROMISE MADE: (2020 campaign website JoeBiden.com): [On health insurance cost regulations]: As President, Biden 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.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN, 3/6/21): [In the stimulus plan]: Enrollees would pay no more than 8.5% of their income towards coverage, down from nearly 10% now. Also, those earning more than the current cap of 400% of the federal poverty level--about $51,000 for an individual and $104,800 for a family of four in 2021--would become eligible for help. Both chambers seek to entice states that have yet to expand Medicaid to low-income adults to do so by boosting their federal Medicaid matching funds by 5 percentage points for two years.

Source: CNN "Senate stimulus" analysis of 2021 Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

Re-open ACA enrollment; restore ObamaCare to pre-Trump level

PROMISE MADE: (Biden-Sanders debate 3/15/20): Pass the Biden healthcare plan, which takes ObamaCare, restores all the cuts made to it [under Trump]. Subsidize it further.

PROMISE KEPT:(Executive Order on Medicare 1/28/21): It is the policy of my Administration to protect and strengthen Medicaid and the ACA and to make high-quality healthcare accessible and affordable for every American. In light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, establish a Special Enrollment Period for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.

OnTheIssues ANALYSIS: Biden made his promise at the beginning of the pandemic, and all healthcare policy in 2021 is tied up with the pandemic. Biden has largely restored ObamaCare cuts--by reopening ACA enrollment--and largely subsidized ObamaCare--via pandemic spending and pandemic justification.

Source: White House press release on Biden Promises , Feb 2, 2021

ObamaCare plus a public option makes BidenCare

Q: Your healthcare plan calls for building on ObamaCare?

BIDEN: What I'm going to do is pass ObamaCare with a public option, and become BidenCare. The public option says that if you qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you automatically are enrolled, providing competition for insurance companies. That's what's going to happen. Secondly, we're going to make sure we reduce the premiums and reduce drug prices by making sure that there's competition, that doesn't exist now, by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with the insurance companies. Thirdly, the idea that I want to eliminate private insurance, the reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination was I support private insurance. That's why. Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under ObamaCare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.

Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker , Oct 22, 2020

Pre-existing conditions are in jeopardy from Supreme Court

Q: Does a new conservative Supreme Court Justice put ObamaCare at risk?

BIDEN: I think that healthcare overall is very much in jeopardy as a consequence of the President's going to go directly after this election directly to the Supreme Court within a month to try to get ObamaCare wiped out after 10 million people have already lost their insurance from their employer and wants to take 20 million people out of the system as well, plus 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.

TRUMP: We got rid of the individual mandate on ObamaCare, and now you could actually say it's not ObamaCare because you had to pay a fortune for the privilege of not having to pay for bad health insurance, so we got rid of that. By the way, we're always protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and I can't say that more strongly. The problem with ObamaCare, it's not good. We'd like to terminate it, and we want a much less expensive healthcare that's a much better healthcare.

Source: Second 2020 Presidential Debate/ABC Town Hall Philadelphia , Oct 15, 2020

A hundred million people have pre-existing conditions

BIDEN: There's a hundred million people who have pre-existing conditions and they'll be taken away as well.

TRUMP: There aren't a hundred million people with pre-existing conditions. Joe, the hundred million people is totally wrong. I don't know where you got that number.

FactCheck by NBC News, Sept. 20: A 2017 study from the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that about 133 million people had a pre-existing condition that would make them unable to buy insurance.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020

Public option won't end private insurance; only for Medicaid

Q: You would like to add a public option to Obamacare. The Republicans argue that that is going to end private insurance.

BIDEN: It does not. It's only for those people who are so poor they qualify for Medicaid they can get that free in most states, except Governors who want to deny people who are poor Medicaid. Anyone who qualifies for Medicaid would automatically be enrolled in the public option. The vast majority of the American people would still not be in that option.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020

Add public option to ACA, healthcare is a right

Q: What is your plan to make healthcare affordable, so Americans don't need to drain their savings when care is necessary.

BIDEN: First of all, in the middle of this pandemic, what is the President doing? He's in Federal Court--Federal Court trying to do away with the Affordable Care Act. What I would do is reinstate the Affordable Care Act and add a public option. So would go without being able to be covered for what they need. Healthcare is an absolute right.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper , Sep 17, 2020

Restore all cuts made to ObamaCare, then add more

Pass the Biden healthcare plan, which takes ObamaCare, restores all the cuts made to it. Subsidize it further. Provide for lower drug prices. Make sure that there's no hidden bills. Make sure that we invest what I want to invest $50 billion in dealing with underlying diseases that are of great consequence, diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer. Make sure that we have a Medicare option that's in a public option providing Medicare for us.
Source: 11th Democratic primary debate (Biden-Sanders one-on-one) , Mar 15, 2020

Must divulge cost of health care legislation

I have been around a while. I have gotten a lot of important bills passed through the Congress. Can you imagine going to Congress, Democrats or Republicans, and saying, by the way, let's have Medicare for all? How much is it going to cost? Who's going to pay for it? Well, I don't know. We will all find out later. You have to level with the American people, tell them what you think your plan is going to cost, how you're going to pay for it, and how you're going to get it done.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Add mental health parity to ObamaCare, with Biden option

The proposal I lay out does, in fact, limit drug cost. It allows Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for the price. It sets a system whereby you cannot raise the price of a drug beyond the cost of medical inflation. And by the way, there's mental health parity that I call for in the ObamaCare expanded with the Biden option.
Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Reform healthcare, don't force folks off private insurance

BIDEN: We can do this without raising $30 trillion, $40 trillion. The majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for all. We should build on ObamaCare, adding a Medicare option in that plan, and allow people to choose. A hundred and sixty million people like their private insurance. And if they don't like it, they can buy into a Medicare-like proposal in my plan.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

By 2021, ACA says insurance must pay for expensive HIV drugs

Q: With the high prices of prep and other drugs that help prevent HIV, what is your plan to make it more accessible, particularly to those in the most vulnerable communities and those without insurance?

BIDEN: Under the Affordable Care Act, there is a provision that by 2021, it will be available to anyone who has insurance, and all will be eligible for insurance. It will be available and the insurance companies must pay for it.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

My plan builds on ObamaCare; adding $740B for public option

Q: Are single-payer plans such as those by Senators Warren and Sanders pushing too far?

BIDEN: I think we should have a debate on health care. I think Obamacare worked. I think the way we add to it, replace everything that has been cut, add a public option, guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable insurance, number one. Number two, I think we should look at cost. My plan costs $740 billion. It doesn't cost $30 trillion, $3.4 trillion a year, it turns out, is twice what the entire federal budget is. How are we going to pay for it? Thus far, Senator Warren has not indicated how she pays for it.

Sen. Elizabeth WARREN: Pres. Obama transformed health care. Now, how best can we improve it? I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? Those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle class families are going to pay less.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Public option under ObamaCare covers vast majority for $750B

BIDEN [critiquing Sen. Kamala Harris' plan]: You will lose your employer-based insurance [under Medicare-for-All].

NYC Mayor Bill DE BLASIO: I don't know what the vice president is talking about. There's this mythology that folks are in love with their insurance in America. The folks I talk to say that their health insurance isn't working for them.

BIDEN: ObamaCare is working. The way to get to [ten million uninsured Americans] immediately is to build on ObamaCare. Take back all the things that Trump took away, provide a public option, meaning every single person in America would be able to buy into that option if they didn't like their employer plan, or if they're on Medicaid, they'd automatically be in the plan. It would take place immediately. It would move quickly. And it would insure the vast, vast, vast majority of Americans. In the meantime, what happens? Did anybody tell you how much their plans cost? My plan costs $750 billion. [Medicare-for-All costs] $30 trillion.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Biden plan has public option; thinking otherwise is malarkey

ObamaCare took care of 20 million people right off the bat, 100 million people with pre-existing conditions. What we got is [building onto ObamaCare with a] public option that, in fact, would allow anybody to buy in. No one has to keep their private insurance. They can buy into this plan with $1,000 deductible & never have to pay more than 8.5% of their income when they do it. And if they don't have any money, they'll get in free. So this idea [that I oppose a public option] is a bunch of malarkey.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Would bring back the individual mandate

BIDEN: I think there should be health care for everyone. I have a plan how to do that that's rational and will cost a hell of a lot less and will work.

Q: Would you bring back the individual mandate?

BIDEN: Yes. Yes, I would bring back the individual mandate.

Q: You think that will be popular?

BIDEN: Well, it's not -- yes, now it would be, compared to what's being offered.

Source: CNN "SOTU" 2019 on 2020 candidates , Jul 7, 2019

Build on ObamaCare, with Medicare buy-in

When my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident, my two boys were badly injured. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I'd not had adequate health care. When my son came home from Iraq, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given months to live. I can't fathom what would have happened if they said the last six months of your life, you're on your own. The quickest way to do it is build on ObamaCare and make sure everyone does have an option to a Medicare-like plan.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Expand ObamaCare, but not Medicare-for-All

Biden has signaled that he is open to adding onto the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law while he was vice president. "The Affordable Care Act was a big step ... but we need to build on it. What we can't do is blow it up." Biden has spoken out against Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. He hasn't publicly supported Medicare for All.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 25, 2019

Those near doughnut hole you get $600 more for Rx benefits

Q: Will benefits for Americans under Medicare have to change for the program to survive?

RYAN: Give younger people, when they become Medicare-eligible, guaranteed coverage options that you can't be denied, including traditional Medicare. Choose your plan, and then Medicare subsidizes your premiums.

BIDEN: It's a voucher. Now they got a new plan: "Trust me, it's not going to cost you any more." Folks, follow your instincts on this one. What we did is we saved $716 billion and applied it to Medicare. We cut the cost of Medicare. We stopped overpaying insurance companies. And it extends the life of Medicare to 2024. They want to wipe this all out. It also gave more benefits. Any senior out there, ask yourself: Do you have more benefits today? You do. If you're near the doughnut hole, you have $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. You get wellness visits without copays. They wipe all of this out, and Medicare becomes insolvent in 2016.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

Medicare gives seniors choice, even if Rx prices negotiated

BIDEN: If we just did one thing--allow Medicare to bargain for the cost of drugs like Medicaid can--that would save $156 billion right off the bat.

RYAN: And it would deny seniors choices.

BIDEN: All you seniors out there, have you been denied choices? Have you lost Medicare Advantage?

RYAN: Because it's working well right now.

BIDEN: Because we changed the law!

Q: Why not very slowly raise the Medicare eligibility age by two years, as Congressman Ryan suggests?

BIDEN: I was there when we did that with Social Security, in 1983. We made the system solvent to 2033. We will not, though, be part of any voucher [that says] when you're 65, go out there, shop for the best insurance you can get; you're out of Medicare. This voucher will not keep pace with health care costs, because if it did keep pace with health care costs, there would be no savings.

RYAN: A voucher is you go to your mailbox, get a check and buy something. Nobody's proposing that.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

ObamaCare built on the best of our private insurance system

On March 23, 2010, President Obama delivered on his commitment signing the health care bill into law, giving the American people more freedom and control over their health care choices, improving the quality of the care that they receive and reducing cost, all by building on the best of our private insurance system. Before we passed this health care reform we heard from legions of small business owners struggling to do the right thing, keep their employees on the payroll while also providing them with decent health insurance coverage. But it was difficult. Now that's changed. Now look, this all has happened in just one year. It's only just beginning. It's only going to get better until the law is fully implemented in 2014.
Source: Speech on "One Year of the Affordable Care Act" , Mar 24, 2011

Insurance mandate is same debate as for Social Security

This debate about the philosophic differences echo the debate that probably took place in the mid-1930s on Social Security--it was mandated. And it was mandated because everybody knew you couldn't get insurance unless everybody was in the pool. And they knew if only some people were in the pool, what would happen is a lot of people when they got old we would take care of them anyway and you'd have to pay for them. It's the same philosophic debate that took place back in the 1930s."
Source: Speech at Bipartisan Meeting on Health Care Reform , Feb 25, 2010

Start paying for universal coverage with $100B in redundancy

Q: Do you favor universal coverage for everyone without exception?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: How would you pay for it?

A: I would pay for it by three ways. 1) I start off dealing with going into a prevention-and-treatment mode here that required us to simplify and modernize the system. That could save $100 billion a year in redundancy that goes on right now. 2) I would immediately provide for catastrophic health insurance for all Americans, and I’d immediately move for insuring every single child in America. That would cost less than what the top 1% tax break costs, $85 billion a year. 3) Then what I would do is I would move to insuring everyone through one of two vehicles. Either a system we work out among the stakeholders, an agreement that everyone essentially gets Medicare from the time you’re born or a system whereby everyone can buy into the federal system. Those who don’t have the means to buy in, then you subsidize them into the system. I would pay for that by direct revenues.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Joe Biden on Pandemics

I've ordered more anti-virus pills than anyone in history

Source: 2022 State of the Union address , Mar 1, 2022

Get more people vaccinated, or prolong coronavirus pandemic

For our country, the choice is simple: get more people vaccinated, or prolong this pandemic and its impact on our country. The virus will not go away by itself: we have to act. Vaccination is the single best pathway out of this pandemic. And while I would have much preferred that requirements not become necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good. So I instituted requirements--and they are working. They protect our workers and have helped us reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans over the age of 12 from approximately 100 million in late July when I began requirements to just about 60 million today.

Vaccination requirements are good for the economy. They not only increase vaccination rates but they help send people back to work--as many as 5 million American workers. They make our economy more resilient and keep our businesses open. [See H.R. 6304 for Congressional response]

Source: White House press release by 2021 Biden Administration , Nov 4, 2021

Made 100M vaccination goal, but not 70% goal

PROMISE MADE: (Newsweek, Jan. 15, 2021): Biden formally rolled out his aggressive, federally backed delivery plan to meet his goal of getting 100 million shots administered in his first 100 days in office. "Some wonder if we're reaching too far with that goal--is it achievable?" Biden said. "Let me be clear: I'm convinced we can get it done.

PROMISE KEPT: (NBC News, March 18, 2021): Biden said he was poised to meet his goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccination shots in his first 100 days more than 40 days ahead of schedule. "I am proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into my administration, we will have met our goal," Biden said in a speech at the White House.

ANALYSIS: Biden subsequently made and then walked back a goal of 150 million shots, a goal that is expected to be met as well. Biden then proposed 70% vaccination rate by July 4th; the US reached 67% on July 4 and reached 70% several weeks later.

Source: Newsweek & NBC analysis of Biden Promises , Mar 18, 2021

$119 billion to build public confidence in vaccines

PROMISE MADE: (2020 campaign website JoeBiden.com): Plan for the effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines because discovering isn't enough if they get distributed like Trump's testing and PPE fiascos. Invest $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee it gets to every American, cost-free.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN 3/6/21): The [stimulus bills] provide $14 billion to research, develop, distribute, administer and strengthen confidence in vaccines. They would also put $47.8 billion toward testing, contact tracing and mitigation, including investing in laboratory capacity, community-based testing sites and mobile testing units. Both chambers would also allocate $7.7 billion to hire 100,000 public health workers to support coronavirus response. The legislation also provide $50 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with some of the funds going toward expanding vaccination efforts.

Source: CNN "Senate stimulus" analysis of 2021 Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

$8.5 billion for rural hospitals, for telehealth & COVID

PROMISE MADE: (2020 campaign website JoeBiden.com downloaded 3/11/21): The Biden Administration will provide rural health care providers with funding and flexibility necessary to identify, test, and deploy innovative approaches to keeping their doors open and providing care for the unique needs of rural communities.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN 3/6/21): The Senate bill allocates $8.5 billion to help struggling rural hospitals and health care providers.

White House Press Release: (8/13/2021): [The $8.5B will go towards]: