With Obama tied up at the UN, Vice President Biden is out front on health reform. On Wednesday, he reassured seniors in suburban Maryland about their Medicare coverage.
But it turns out Mr. Biden does do healthcare – especially in a week where President Obama is out front on foreign policy. With the health reform debate building as the Senate Finance Committee hammers out its bill, the White House appears determined to pound home its message on a daily basis. Biden also reportedly plans to get more involved in engaging his former Senate colleagues, both Democratic and Republican, on the issue.
“Nobody is going to mess with your benefits,” said Biden, who was joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House health adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle. “All we do is make it better for people on Medicare.”
Mr. Obama plans to cover $500 billion of the cost of health reform by squeezing out waste and fraud from Medicare, but many seniors still worry their coverage will be cut. The Medicare audience is politically crucial. Seniors vote.
In conjunction with the Leisure World event, the White House put out a list of benefits it believes seniors would see from reform. Among them: reduced cost of prescription drugs, in part by closing the gap in Medicare drug coverage known as the “donut hole”; making preventative services free; and ending what the administration considers overpayments to private insurers.