March 07, 2022

President Biden Addresses Many of Retirees’ Highest Priorities at State of the Union

President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address last Tuesday, and he included several initiatives designed to improve the lives of older Americans. Noting that Americans continue to pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, he again pushed for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as the Veterans Administration and Medicaid programs do. He also said that the nation needs to cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month.

“Hopefully, 2022 will be the year when we finally see legislative action that substantially lowers drug prices,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “Congress should take the $450 billion in savings from drug negotiations and direct Medicare to use it to expand benefits for vision, dental and hearing.”

President Biden also called on Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to ensure that seniors’ voices are heard at the ballot box – a high priority given that legislators in 19 states have enacted 34 laws with provisions that severely restrict voting access.

In addition, President Biden called for passing the PRO Act, which will allow workers to join a union without facing corporations’ unnecessary impediments, and for increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would mean higher Social Security benefits for seniors upon retirement.

“The House has already passed bills that would lower prescription drug prices, protect voting rights, make the PRO Act the law of the land and raise the minimum wage. We call on the U.S. Senate to listen to President Biden and follow suit,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance.

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