Nevada health care providers stand with Biden, tout his efforts to lower costs

Dr. John Villasenor appearing at the launch of the “Health Care Providers for Biden-Harris” coalition in West Las Vegas, where he praised Biden’s efforts to lower drug costs and improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on May 16,2024. (Jannelle Calderon/The Nevadan/El Nevadense)

By Jannelle Calderón

May 17, 2024

Doctors said the Biden administration has helped hundreds of thousands of Nevadans be insured and afford medications, while Trump has suggested he might repeal the Affordable Care Act.

A group of Las Vegas health care professionals gathered on Thursday afternoon to highlight the health care achievements of the Biden administration, and warn that the progress would be reversed if former President Donald Trump wins in the November election.

Appearing at the launch of the “Health Care Providers for Biden-Harris” coalition in West Las Vegas, several local doctors praised Biden’s efforts to lower drug costs and improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The big one that comes to mind is insulin, which is now reduced to $35. This is huge, huge, huge in the sense that so many individuals suffer from diabetes. The condition could have so many complications, and puts a stress on our health care system,” John Villaseñor, a Las Vegas-based primary care physician, said during a press conference. “Now these medications are reduced in price. I’ve been able to see in my own clinic, and in the hospitals during training, the benefits that it brings to the community, the stress is lowered thanks to this accomplishment.”

The Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law in 2022, capped the cost of insulin to $35 per month for seniors on Medicare. And as a result of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, earlier this year, insulin manufacturers officially began offering price caps and savings programs to lower the cost of some of their most widely-used insulin products to only $35 per month. In Nevada, 10.9% of the adult population has diagnosed diabetes.

The 2021 law reformed the rules guiding the Medicaid health insurance program to remove a cap on the penalty drug companies pay for raising list prices above the rate of inflation.

The Medicare Extra Help program also became available to all eligible Medicare recipients in January. The program, which was expanded under the Inflation Reduction Act, helps low-income recipients by offering them no-cost Medicare drug plan premiums and deductibles, and reduced pricing for both generic and brand-name medications.

Biden’s efforts to strengthen the Affordable Care Act also drew praise from local providers.

Jody Domineck, a pediatric nurse, said during the press conference that she witnessed first-hand how presidents’ policies affect health care.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, I took care of three year olds fighting cancer, who had already maxed out their lifetime insurance benefits … I’ve seen the impact out-of-control health care costs have on families who should be able to focus on their child getting better,” Domineck said at the press conference. “So when I say that President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act has made a big difference for Nevada families. I mean it, I’ve seen it … Health care providers know the facts. We’ve seen the progress.”

The Inflation Reduction Act extended subsidies that helped make ACA health insurance plans more affordable for working- and middle-class families. Those subsidies were introduced as part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan of 2021, and were set to expire at the end of last year, but the Inflation Reduction Act extended them through the end of 2025.

The Affordable Care Act has also helped reduce the uninsured rate among Nevada’s Latino population. Latinos make up about 30% of Nevada’s population, but in 2019, they made up nearly 60% of the uninsured population. As of 2022, that figure had shrunk to about 20%.

While Biden has sought to protect the Affordable Care Act, Trump tried (and failed) to repeal and replace it during his first term. During his 2024 presidential campaign, he has once again embraced the idea of replacing the law, without presenting an actual alternative.

“We’re worried that if Trump wins in November, one of the first things he’s going to try to get rid of is the Affordable Care Act. How many individuals are going to suffer from that? That’s something we don’t want to happen,” Villaseñor said.

A recent poll by KFF that surveyed nearly 1,500 voters found that Biden has an advantage on how much people trust him to address several key health care policy issues in comparison to Trump. However, neither candidate has a clear lead when it comes to addressing high healthcare costs, with similar shares of voters saying they trust Biden (38%) and Trump (36%).

“We don’t want to go backwards when it comes to medical care,” Villaseñor warned. “We want to move forward.”

  • Jannelle Calderón

    Jannelle Calderón is a bilingual politics and community multimedia reporter with a passion to highlight the human side to policy and issues as well as showcasing the vibrant cultures found in Southern Nevada. She previously reported for The Nevada Independent and graduated from UNLV.

CATEGORIES: HEALTHCARE

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