Biden is pushing for lower prescription drug costs in the mid-term press

LOS ANGELES – President Joe Biden will highlight his administration’s efforts to cut prescription drug costs on Friday as part of his three-state tour west this week as he faces a sobering inflation report in the final weeks before the midterm elections.

Biden will go to a community college in Irvine, California, to meet with seniors and promote his administration’s efforts to lower inflation and cut costs. The visit follows an announcement that millions of Social Security beneficiaries will receive an 8.7% benefit increase in 2023, a historic increase but a gain partially offset by the rising costs of daily living.

Despite the President’s efforts, inflation is rising and Republicans are benefiting from higher prices as they see openings in California and elsewhere to potentially snag seats in the US House of Representatives. The president will also make his case in Oregon before returning east if the race for the staunchly Democratic governor ends with an independent split of the vote.

Consumer prices, excluding volatile food and energy costs, rose 6.6% year over year in September – the fastest such pace in four decades. And on a monthly basis, such “core” rates rose 0.6% for the second consecutive month, defying expectations of a slowdown and signaling that the Fed’s multiple rate hikes have yet to ease inflationary pressures. Core prices usually provide a clearer picture of the underlying price trends.

Biden acknowledged the issue Thursday, saying that “Americans are under pressure from the cost of living. This has been true for years and people don’t need a report to tell them they’re being crushed.”

He also returned to a metaphor he used often during his first year in office, addressing issues Americans talk about at the “kitchen table” and touting his administration’s efforts to cut costs even as inflation rises.

“From prescription drugs to health insurance to utility bills and more,” he said. “We stand up for working people and their right to a raise and a better job.”

The White House said Biden will also sign an executive order that will direct the US Department of Health and Human Services to look for additional ways to reduce drug costs.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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