What We’re Reading: Biden Strives to Lower Drug Prices; Supreme Court Allows Vaccine Mandate; Heat Advisories Across the Nation

President Joe Biden pushes for measures aimed at lowering drug prices; the Supreme Court allows a vaccine mandate imposed by Indiana University to stand; heat advisories issued for almost 200 million Americans.

Biden Strives to Lower Drug Prices

President Joe Biden urged Congress to include strict controls on prescription drug prices as part of Democrats’ planned social policy bill to be drafted this fall, The New York Times reports. In an address at the White House, the president added that Medicare should be granted negotiation powers to lower drug prices as part of the bill. In addition, he said pharmaceutical companies should face penalties if they raise prices faster than inflation and pushed for a new cap on how much Medicare beneficiaries have to spend on medications. Biden also said Medicare prices should be extended to private plans, according to Roll Call.

Supreme Court Permits Vaccine Mandate

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by Indiana University for all of its faculty and employees, the Associated Press reports. The decision came after an emergency request from 8 students who maintained the mandate violated their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and medical treatment choice. Of the 8 students, 7 qualified for a religious exemption from the vaccine. This was the first instance the Supreme Court has weighed in on a vaccine mandate, as numerous corporations, states, and cities are beginning to adopt similar requirements.

Heat Advisories Issued for Areas in 34 States

Heat advisories issued in major cities including New York, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon, affect nearly 200 million Americans across the country, according to NBC News. The advisories cover individuals across 34 states, amid temperatures expected to climb into the triple digits in some areas. The warmth threatens to fuel the risk of severe thunderstorms, which could lead to swaths of power outages. The heat will also aggravate the over 100 wildfires burning across more than 12 states, which have been exacerbated by climate change. The last excessive heat warning issued in August for the tri-state area surrounding New York was in 2016. The National Weather Service is urging individuals to avoid strenuous activity during midday and hydrate.