A divided world Congress President Joe is not likely to get major legislation passed. Biden’s Administration is working now with private businesses to push for a policy agenda that would otherwise be blocked, on anything from expanding child care options to prescription drug costs.
On Wednesday, Biden celebrated pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly’s announcement that it would slash and cap the cost of insulin. The Commerce Department had announced earlier in the week that it will require chipmakers offer affordable child care plans to be eligible for over $50 billion in subsidy. The Commerce Department also announced that three of the largest airlines would respond to their request. Biden’s Call the State of the Union and ask them to remove fees from parents and children for sitting together.
All three announcements advance the administration’s long-standing policy goals — to lower prescription drug costs, to expand affordable child care options and to eliminate so-called “junk fees” — in ways Congress However, they have been so far unable. The administration now relies on public pressure and regulations in order to put its agenda into effect.
“The president’s bully pulpit is a really important tool that he’s using to reduce costs for families in a number of ways,” Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the White House’s National Economic Council, told The Sunday Review in a phone interview. “It’s not meant to substitute for getting things through Congress, or for getting something done in rulemaking.”
Key to the efforts is the underlying popularity of the ideas: Lowering prescription drug costs has long been one of the public’s biggest priorities, and public surveys show Biden’s Push against junk fees broadly popular.
“We pick these issues where there is something fundamentally unfair and unreasonable that is happening, and you shine the presidential spotlight on it,” Ramamurti continued. “The president must have talked about lowering the price of insulin 100 times over the last year and a half as he’s been pushing for this, and this week you saw a pharmaceutical company respond to his call to act.”
It is not an unusual tactic for the White House. Biden released his antitrust plan in 2021 with an executive order that included pushes for transparency. “right to repair,” Apple has announced that it will sell its first repair kit to the general public.
At the same time, the moves ― all of which are incremental ― also show how limited the White House’s toolkit is to deal with major problems driving up costs for Americans.
Inflation Reduction Act made a huge step towards reducing high drug prices. This is a long-standing concern for Americans. Even though it gave Medicare the opportunity to leverage its purchasing power and negotiate lower prices for drugs, the Democrats that were supportive of the pharmaceutical industry tried to limit these powers.
Additionally, it set $35 as the maximum out-of pocket cost for insulin to Medicare recipients. The cap is also intended to be applied to people who have private health insurance. failed due to Senate rules despite getting 57 votes.) Biden, along with other Democrats, and some Republicans, have advocated for voluntary compliance by companies since the bill was passed.
Eli Lilly was the first major company that manufactures insulin to be acquiesced on Wednesday Capturing out-of-pocket expenses 35 dollars per month The development of biosimilars, as well the effort to produce insulin at a lower price, were all influenced by market forces. However, some credit can also be attributed to political pressure.
“It’s rare that we see a drug company voluntarily lower its prices,” Juliette Cubanski was the Kaiser Family Foundation’s assistant director for Medicare policy. “The company was facing pretty strong headwinds in terms of political pressure from lawmakers.”
Speaking to House Democrats at their annual conference in Baltimore, Biden predicted the other major manufacturers ― the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk and France-based Sanofi ― would have no choice but to follow suit.
“Guess what that means?” Biden said. “Every other company making insulin is going to have to lower their prices to $35 because they can’t compete.”
Cubanski said that this decision would make a huge difference to people without insurance. Most consumers who have insurance already spend less than $35 per monthly. She also pointed out the newest insulin products Eli Lilly manufactures won’t be covered by the price cut.
“This is the kind of persistent concern with drug prices in the United States that the Inflation Reduction Act does nothing to address,” Sie said.
Biden’s So-called “anti” “junk fees” ― the fees added on to tickets, financial services and other products ― has generated no shortage of industry opposition. It was launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shortly after he delivered his State of the Union speech last month. Other groups and industry leaders have condemned it as price-fixing and have opposed it.
However, his specific callout of airline industry fees has prompted three major U.S. airlines ― Frontier, United and American ― to eliminate fees for children and parents to sit together. Officials from the Administration are optimistic about the new rollout of the Department of Transportation Dashboard tracking fees. Other airlines will be encouraged to adopt the same approach.
“Baggage fees are bad enough ― they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage,” Biden spoke in the State of the Union.
The Department of Transportation already has a rule in place that would eliminate those fees. However, it could take years before the final rules are implemented. At the moment, the White House wants to partner with Rep. Ann Wagner (R.Mo.). ― who has sponsored stand-alone legislation banning fees for families to sit together ― to get the requirement passed into law.
Take-in Child Care
The administration’s move to expand child care differs from their other recent successes. Biden, along with other officials, verbally challenged airlines and pharmaceutical firms. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo emphasized that chipmakers must offer child care to show how the administration is working together with the industry.
“We right now lack affordable child care, which is the single most significant factor keeping people, especially women, out of the labor force,” Raimondo said on a conference call last week. “And so we need to see how these companies are going to be meeting their labor force needs.”
The majority of Senate Republicans who backed the CHIPS Act which funded the semiconductor funding are grumbling about the move. Senator Mitt Romney (R. Utah) called these requirements “woke” Senator Thom Tillis (R.-N.C.), referred them to as “social engineering.”
Officials in the administration argue the necessary requirements to ensure the semiconductor industry has the right workforce. The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a think tank that focuses on innovation. Two of its scholars made similar arguments in an article. blog post Last week.
“It is not, as some have wrongly argued, an issue of social policy,” The scholars wrote. “It is a pragmatic move, clearly aligned with the nation’s security interests, to grow the workforce necessary to get the fabs built and producing the chips on which our country runs.”
However, child care is still a priority. Crises in the country Biden couldn’t address all of the issues, in part due to Sen. Joe Manchin(D-W. Va.) & Kyrsten Silnema (D-Ariz.) opposing his original plan. “Build Back Better” This plan would have funneled billions of dollars towards child care and prekindergarten programs.