Health Care Policy in the 2024 State of the Union Address

Health Care Policy in the 2024 State of the Union Address  

Heading into election season, President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union Address with a number of familiar health care policy mentions. This blog post focuses on what the President talked about, the implications of those issues for 2024, and the chances of movement on these issues in the current Congress.  

Inflation Reduction Act  

President Biden highlighted the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the health care provisions in the bill including: 

  • Medicare drug price negotiations, 
  • expanded ACA subsidies, and  
  • the out-of-pocket cap on insulin and other prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries.  

He called for building on this legislation by expanding Medicare negotiation authority to include more drugs, making the expanded ACA subsidies permanent, and extending the out-of-pocket caps to all Americans. President Biden’s focus on these provisions makes sense given polls such as this one from KFF that show Americans are not very familiar with the specifics of the IRA.  


President Biden spoke forcefully about his view that reproductive rights should be protected. Polls, such as this one from KFF, show that the issue is very important as a motivator for the Democratic base and key constituencies. President Biden called for Congress to send him a bill to make Roe v. Wade the law of the land. He also highlighted his opposition to state bans on abortion or efforts to curtail access to services such as IVF.  

Protecting Medicare 

President Biden reiterated his opposition to what he described as efforts to cut Medicare. This portion of the speech elicited jeers from the Republican side of the aisle. As we mentioned in a previous blog, this issue is especially important for older voters, so we expect the President to continue to highlight ways his administration is protecting Medicare, especially in geographical areas with high concentrations of older voters.  

Hope for Bipartisanship 

President Biden did include some areas of health care policy in the 2024 State of the Union where there is strong potential for bipartisanship. For example, the president spoke about: 

  • federal funding for the ARPA-H and  
  • efforts to address concerns about fentanyl.  

The President also mentioned a new Women’s Heath Research initiative that he will be asked Congress to fund in the coming days. 

So What?  

It is difficult to see how Congress can move on any major health care legislation before the election, given the fragile majority Republicans hold in the House and the almost-default requirement for at least 60 votes in the Senate.  It was certainly important for the President to bring up these ideas given how much voters want to hear from the president and his opponent about their respective health care policy proposals. If there is going to be any movement in Congress on health care policy in this election year, we expect areas of health care policy in the 2024 State of the Union such as federal funding for cancer research and efforts to address concerns about fentanyl to be the areas where any movement occurs.  

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