‘Never been more optimistic in my life’: President Biden talks inflation, hope for Oregonians in Portland speech

About 400 people filled the East Portland Community
Saturday afternoon to hear Presidente Joe Biden give a speech on how inflation is
impacting prescription drug costs.

President Biden took
the podium at around 12:30 p.m. He talked about lowering costs for American
families, primarily seniors. 

He championed
su Inflation Reduction Act, which goes into effect in
January. It will lower health care premiums for millions of Americans, drop
prescription drug prices and cap out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs
at $2,000 per year.

President Biden was joined by Senators Ron Wyden and
Jeff Merkley and Representative Suzanne Bonamici.

“This year alone
drug companies raised the price of more than 1,200 drugs higher than the rate
of inflation,” said the president. “Today marks the beginning of Medicaid’s
open enrollment period so when seniors pick plans for next year, they’ll be
able to take advantage of the progress we’ve made that’s not all for years the
fee you pay for Medicare to cover your visits to doctors’ offices have gone up
now for the first time in more than a decade they’re going to go down… they’re
going to go down.”

His Ley de Reducción de la Inflación will also cap out-of-pocket
costs for things like insulin to just $35.  

“We’re going to keep
fighting for lowering costs of insulin for children and families as well
because of the Inflation Reduction Act seniors are also going to get their
recommended vaccines without any co pays,” said the president.

It’s a change that
would help many of the families sitting in the audience.

“A lot of my aunts
are senior citizens, and they have to pay for medications out of their pocket
and so it’ll be a great help,” said Twauna Hennessee.

“I have a sister
who’s on social security disability and so she gets her health coverage through
Medicare, and I think it’s going to make a significant difference from her,”
added Claire Syrett who drove from Eugene to watch the president speak.

The president also
targeted the republicans in congress.

“Folks let me tell
you something every single democrat in congress voted for the Inflation
Reduction Act and every single republican voted against it every single one
house and senate not only that now the congressional republicans are telling us
it’s their number one priority if they win their number one priority is repeal
the Inflation Reduction Act,” said the president.

This concerns some
Oregonians like Syrett. “For the republicans to be so cold hearted as to not
recognize the real impacts this has on people and their daily lives that is
very disturbing and I hope we don’t see that happen,” she said.

Biden also took the opportunity
to highlight his view of the working class.

“I’m a bubble up
guy. When the middle class does well, the working-class people have a way up
and the wealthy do just fine and by the way the middle class built this country
and unions built the middle class,” said the president.

He left many with a
renewed sense of hope.

“He’s genuine. I
feel like he genuinely cares about people like he genuinely cares about the
working class,” said Hennessee.

“It’s easy to lose
hope right now things are scary and so I really appreciate that he had that to
say to us,” added Syrett.

“We just have to
remember who in God’s name we are… this is the United States of America and
I’ve never been more optimistic in my life,” said the president.

The next stop for
Biden is Delaware where he will stay through the rest of the weekend.