As Republicans wage a culture war over masked mandates and critical racial theories, and some try to scare voters over refugees from Afghanistan, Democrats are betting on social spending plans to keep the weak coalition Biden formed last year under control. In particular, the White House sees the provision of prescription drugs as an effective counter-blow to Republican attempts to tie Biden’s economic agenda to inflation, and holds the president responsible for the rising costs of gasoline, used cars, and other household items.
Negotiating the cost of prescription drugs “is by far one of the most popular elements of the package,” said Celinda Lake, a pollster on Biden’s presidential campaign. “[And] It is a policy that includes seniors who were more skeptical of some other aspects of the package. “
“A senior, for example, will be far more concerned about what they are paying for their prescription drugs than what Dr. Seuss writes about his granddaughter’s reading in kindergarten, ”she added.
In the past few weeks, Biden has been focusing heavily on the proposal as he outlined his larger economic plans, which are expected to go through a reconciliation that only requires a simple majority.
“One in four Americans who take prescription drugs struggle to afford them,” Biden said. “We will help millions of Americans save money and ease their burdens by reducing the cost of prescription drugs.”
The White House and Democrats are also planning to beat up Republicans who oppose the proposal on the grounds that they are on the side of big drug companies that Americans are inflicting. And organizations like the AARP are joining the push. In a June poll of 1,605 registered voters aged 50 and over, the group found 87 percent were in favor of allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug companies, including 80 percent of black voters and 77 percent of Hispanic Attendees.
AARP’s senior vice president of campaigns, John Hishta, said employees at the group, which represents tens of millions of retirees, speak to lawmakers and White House executives almost daily. Passing the provision allowing Medicare to negotiate drug costs is a “top priority,” said Hishta, and “we will pull out all the stops to try to make this happen.”
As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the budget decision that will include the drug price move, the White House, at the behest of the Democratic leadership, has increased the reach of members as they fear they may not yet have the required votes. In the House of Representatives, a moderate Democrats group is threatening to derail the resolution, arguing that the House should vote first on the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate. Regardless, a number of centrists in the party are cautious about allowing Medicare price negotiations, arguing that doing so would undermine drug companies’ ability to innovate.
Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) Said that position was misguided and has offered to speak to skeptical Democrats if the party leadership so requests. “We really, really need to wake up – and I’m talking about my caucus – and understand that this has great bipartisan appeal,” said Wild of the effort to drive down prescription drug prices. “If necessary, we have to sort this issue out and bring it out, because it’s a winning topic.”
Wild said the topic she hears most about from her constituents is the price of insulin. “When you have something that important in the reconciliation package, you really have to think long before you vote no,” said Wild.
In a memo released Friday, Lake polls found that 87 percent of voters over 65 were in favor of allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices with prescription drug companies. The poll, conducted in mid-June of 800 voters over 65 years of age, also found that seniors would cross party lines, “which is both an opportunity for Democratic candidates who support this proposal to attract voters and a threat that undermines their base.” could”. support if they are against it, ”says the memo.
When asked if a Democratic candidate supported the proposal, 51 percent of seniors were more likely to vote in favor, including 78 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Independents and 31 percent of Republicans.
However, Lake warned that the Democrats need to better delineate the proposal in the Democrats’ reconciliation package, noting that to date, “nearly half the public” still does not know what is in Biden’s $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, the Was passed by the Senate earlier this month. “And the reconciliation package that they know even less about.”