President Biden Shares Health Care Priorities in First State of the Union Address

By: Jennifer Dexter, NHC Director of Policy 

On March 1, President Biden delivered his first State of the Union address. While there was a significant international focus, he spent much of the speech outlining domestic priorities including health care. 

Some of the specific issues he addressed included: 

  • Making the premium subsidies for purchasing Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans enacted during the COVID pandemic permanent. 
  • Continuing support for increased access to home and community-based supports under Medicaid. 
  • The need to cut the cost of prescription drugs, particularly the high cost of insulin. The President urged capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month. He also renewed the call to let “Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.” 
  • Promising nursing home reforms through the Medicare program that would lead to higher quality-of-care standards. Details of his plan for nursing home reform were released earlier in the day and can be found here. 
  • An initiative to increase access to mental health supports for all Americans, particularly youth. Details of this plan can be found here. 
  • Improving health services for veterans. 
  • Increasing focus on the “Cancer Moonshot” with a goal of cutting the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years.  
  • Calling on Congress to create and fund ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, to speed the delivery of innovative medical treatments, devices, and services to patients. 
  • Advancing maternal health care. 

You can read the full text of the speech here. While State of the Union proposals do not often translate directly into new legislation, they are a good gauge of the Presidential priorities for the year. Many of these topics are areas that the National Health Council has championed for many years. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to advance policy that supports patients’ access to high-quality, equitable, affordable health care.