Biden seeks to reassure Democrats at healthcare event with Bernie Sanders

President Joe Biden spoke alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at the White House Wednesday to make the case for his healthcare policies heading into the 2024 general election.

The president has slid among progressives since entering office, especially voters under the age of 35, and Biden’s reelection effort is working double time to shore up his winning 2020 electoral coalition before November.

Sanders spoke ahead of the president and made the case that, “finally,” because of Biden, the U.S. is “catching up” to other Western nations in expanding healthcare access for all Americans.

“Despite all the political wealth and political power of the pharmaceutical companies,” he told the crowd in his opening remarks. “Despite all that, the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress are beginning to make some progress.”

Sanders specifically lifted up Biden’s efforts to lower prescription drug prices, which White House officials say will be reversed if former President Donald Trump wins the 2024 election and Republicans pick up seats in Congress.

“This is an issue we must — must — get a handle on,” he continued, adding that it is only possible to do so by “working together.”

Upon taking the stage, Biden thanked Sanders for “leading the way” on healthcare reform and helping move legislation through Congress.

“Bernie said it. I was listening in the background, Bernie, you and I’ve been fighting this for 25 years,” the president stated. “Finally, finally, we beat Big Pharma, and I wouldn’t have done it without Bernie.”

He additionally attacked Trump for declaring his desire to roll back Biden’s Medicare initiatives and taking credit for the Dobbs decision that ended national abortion protections included in Roe v. Wade.

Biden’s remarks appear to be part of an effort to shift the conversation toward healthcare and away from his immigration policies, which Trump has campaigned heavily on this week.

The president appeared in North Carolina last week at a separate healthcare event alongside Vice President Kamala Harris.

“There’s a lot of people lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, literally wondering, ‘What will happen if my spouse gets cancer or my child gets seriously ill? Will I have enough insurance? Can we afford the medical bills? Will we have to sell the house? What are we going to have to do?’” he said at the time. “Because of all of you in this room and across the country, we changed that and made the Affordable Care Act the law of the land.”

Naomi Lim contributed to this report.

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You can watch Wednesday’s event in full below.

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