FIRST ON FOX: President Biden on Saturday commemorated the 57th anniversary of Medicare by slamming Republican proposals and “MAGA policies” and touting his administration’s efforts to “protect” and “strengthen” the national health insurance program by giving Medicare “the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.”
Medicare was signed into law July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
“Fifty-seven years ago, President Johnson signed Medicare into law,” Biden said in a video provided to Fox News exclusively by the White House.
“Since then, Republicans in Congress have been fighting it,” Biden said. “Today, it is Sen. Rick Scott from Florida who is leading the fight.
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“He has a plan that will put Medicare on the chopping block every five years. Think about that.”
Biden was referring to a plan Scott proposed earlier this year that would sunset Social Security and Medicare within five years.
“Do you want to give Republicans in Congress who are pushing and pursuing the MAGA policies the power to eliminate Medicare every five years?” Biden asked. “That’s never going to happen while I’m president.”
Biden said he is going to “protect Medicare.”
“In fact, we’re making Medicare stronger,” Biden said, pointing to the new Inflation Reduction bill pending in Congress. The bill would “give Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.”
“And it puts a cap on the total out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs for seniors at $2,000 a year, whether it is for cancer or any other disease,” Biden explained.
Biden said Medicare “has been a godsend for seniors and their families since it was first signed into law on this day by President Johnson.
“On this anniversary, we’re reminded we have to protect it, strengthen it — for not only today’s seniors, but for generations to come,” Biden said.
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The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress had been seeking to give Medicare the power to negotiate a better deal on some of the most expensive drugs. Medicare is prohibited from negotiating drug prices.
The measure is included in the reconciliation bill, which had been referred to as the “Build Back Better” bill. After more than a year of negotiations, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came to an agreement with the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on a vastly pared-down version of the original bill, but one that includes tax, climate and prescription drug provisions.
The reconciliation bill is now referred to as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
The president is urging Congress to “put politics aside” and pass the package, saying it will “lower health care costs for millions of Americans.”
The bill gives Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices and locks in place lower health insurance premiums for families for the next three years.
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Senate Republicans, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have argued that the provision would “put socialist price controls between American innovators and new cures for debilitating diseases.”
“The American people know that government can’t magically make things cost less by passing laws saying things should cost less,” McConnell said, adding that “the invoice will be delivered to the American people who are living with actual health challenges.
“Prescription drugs with socialism would have devastating and compounding effects.”
Biden on Saturday slammed Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., for his “11 Point Plan to Rescue America,” which proposed raising income taxes on Americans.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” Scott wrote in the plan. “Currently, over half of Americans pay no income tax.
McConnell shut down the Scott proposal, saying that Republicans “will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”
And a senior Republican source told Fox News that “income tax hikes are never part of the discussion when Republicans are in charge in Washington.”
Scott updated his plan to become the “12 Point Plan to Rescue America.” Scott’s website now states that his plan “cuts taxes.”
“Nothing in this plan has ever, or will ever, advocate or propose, any tax increases, at all,” Scott’s website says, noting that it would “require a supermajority to raise taxes or fees on the American people.”