Washington: President Joe Biden on last Friday rolled out a new set of initiatives to reduce health care costs: a crackdown on what he called “junk” insurance plans that play consumers as ‘suckers,’ new guidance to prevent surprise medical bills and an effort to reduce medical debt tied to credit cards.
Biden is building on previous initiatives to limit health care costs, with the Department of Health and Human Services releasing new estimates showing 18.7 million older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries will save an estimated $400 per year in prescription drug costs in 2025 because of the president placing a cap on out-of-pocket spending as part of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
Gearing up for his 2024 reelection campaign as inflation remains a dominant concern for voters, the Democratic president has emphasized his policies to help families manage their expenses, as well as a spate of government incentives to encourage private sector development of electric vehicles, clean energy and advanced computer chips.
Republican lawmakers have criticized Biden’s policies by saying they have spurred higher prices that hurt the well-being of families.
Biden said his administration was taking aim at what he called “junk” insurance plans, such as short-term policies that can deny basic coverage as people transition between employers and still need temporary
health care coverage.
The new proposed rules aim to close loopholes that allow insurers to offer products that can discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and market to consumers coverage that provides little or no coverage.
“In America, it sounds corny, but fairness is something we kind of expect,” Biden said. “And I don’t know anybody who likes to be viewed as having been played for a sucker.”
Biden invited Cory Dowd to tell his story at the White House event to spotlight the initiative. Dowd in 2019 purchased a high-deductible health care plan when he returned stateside after serving in the Peace Corps in Ghana but before he started graduate school and was able to get on a student health plan. He thought the plan would protect him in the case of a medical emergency.