Biden’s Debate Remark Clarified by White House

During the recent presidential debate, President Joe Biden puzzled many with his answer about the national debt, ending with, “We finally beat Medicare.” The 81-year-old Democrat’s confusing remark has now been clarified.

White House Clarification

This statement did not convey Biden’s intended message about Medicare, the essential program providing health insurance to older Americans. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre clarified on Wednesday that the president meant to say, “He beat big pharma.” Biden was trying to highlight one of his legislative successes: empowering Medicare to negotiate the prices it pays to pharmaceutical companies for certain prescription drugs, a move designed to reduce federal spending.

Understanding Medicare’s Role

Medicare is a critical federal program that offers health insurance to Americans aged 65 and older, as well as to some younger people with disabilities. The program is divided into different parts, covering hospital insurance, medical insurance, and prescription drugs. Medicare has been instrumental in ensuring that senior citizens and eligible individuals have access to necessary healthcare services without facing prohibitive costs.

The recent legislation that Biden was referring to allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, a significant shift aimed at lowering the cost of prescription medications for millions of Americans. This change is intended to help alleviate the financial burden on both the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries, who often face high costs for essential medications.

Election Implications

Biden’s mistake during the debate raised concerns about his ability to effectively compete against Republican nominee Donald Trump in the forthcoming November elections. Trump quickly capitalized on Biden’s error, claiming that “he’s destroying Medicare.”


Despite Biden’s debate misstep, the White House sought to underscore a major policy achievement: the new authority for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which is seen as a crucial step in curbing federal expenditures and challenging the pricing practices of big pharmaceutical companies. This legislative win aims to make prescription drugs more affordable for those covered by Medicare, highlighting the administration’s commitment to reducing healthcare costs for older Americans.

Posted July 2024.

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