News

HEADLINES: In a “Massive Victory for Democrats,” Senate Passes “Sweeping” Legislation to Lower Health Care Costs for Millions

By August 8, 2022No Comments

Yesterday, Senate Democrats passed The Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower costs and improve health care for millions of Americans. Along with combating inflation and making key investments in climate and energy, this historic legislation will extend enhanced premium tax credits for three years and drive down prescription drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate, capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for drugs at $2,000 per year, limiting insulin costs, and stopping Big Pharma’s egregious price hikes. This bill will help lower costs for millions of working families and address the deep racial inequities in our health care system.

Despite unified Republican opposition and record spending from Big Pharma and other special interests, Senate Democrats got the job done. Coverage makes clear that the Inflation Reduction Act’s health care provisions will benefit millions of families for years to come. 

New York Times: Senate Passes The Climate, Health And Tax Bill, With All Republicans Opposed. “The Senate passed legislation on Sunday that would make the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change and lower the cost of prescription drugs, as Democrats banded together to push through major pieces of President Biden’s domestic agenda over unified Republican opposition…It would achieve Democrats’ longstanding goal of slashing prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare for the first time to negotiate the prices of medicines directly and capping the amount that recipients pay out of pocket for drugs each year at $2,000. The measure also would extend larger premium subsidies for health coverage for low- and middle-income people under the Affordable Care Act for three years” [New York Times, 8/8/22]

Washington Post: Senate Approves Inflation Reduction Act, Clinching Long-Delayed Health And Climate Bill. “The bill also includes $64 billion to stave off health insurance premium increases for about 13 million Americans who buy coverage through state and federal exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. These beneficiaries currently receive discounted coverage under a coronavirus-era program set to expire this year, threatening them with premium increases into hundreds of dollars next month.” [Washington Post, 8/7/22]

Bloomberg: Senate Passes Democrats’ Landmark Tax, Climate, Drugs Bill. “Medicare would be allowed to negotiate drug prices, starting with 10 high-priced drugs by the middle of this decade and expanding from there. It would cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors enrolled in Part D at $2,000 per year. The Senate parliamentarian spared drugmakers any penalties for increasing prices in the commercial market. The savings to Medicare will be used to pay for three years of subsidized Obamacare premiums.” [Bloomberg, 8/7/22]

Axios: Biden’s BFD. “Joe Biden has defied expectations, earning a legacy as a president who got big things done with a deeply divided Congress…”It will join a list of hard-fought legislation shaping the U.S. economy, society and foreign policy for decades to come. [Axios, 8/8/22]

Wall Street Journal: Senate Passes Democrats’ Climate, Healthcare And Tax Bill. “The bill’s prescription drug plan would for the first time empower Medicare to negotiate the prices of a limited set of drugs selected from among those that account for the biggest share of government expenditures, long a goal for lawmakers. It would also cap out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 a year beginning in 2025, and starting next year mandate free vaccines for Medicare enrollees. It would cap insulin costs for Medicare patients at $35 a month starting next year. Subsidies for purchasing health insurance through the ACA, which Democrats passed into law in 2021, would continue through 2025…” [Wall Street Journal, 8/7/22]

STAT: In A Massive Victory For Democrats, Medicare Is Poised To Negotiate Drug Prices. “The reform is a stunning defeat for the pharmaceutical industry, which has invested a staggering amount of money to get its way in Washington, and which launched a seven-figure campaign last month to try to stop this effort. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices has been the sector’s third rail for two decades.” [STAT, 8/7/22]

Associated Press: What’s In Democrats’ Big Bill? Climate, Health Care, Savings. “Launching a long-sought goal, the bill would allow the Medicare program to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, saving the federal government some $288 billion over the 10-year budget window. Those new revenues would be put back into lower costs for seniors on medications, including a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for older adults…the bill would allow the assistance to keep going for three more years, lowering insurance premiums for people who are purchasing their own health care policies.” [Associated Press, 8/7/22]

CNN: Senate Passes Democrats’ Sweeping Health Care And Climate Bill. “The bill would empower Medicare to negotiate prices of certain costly medications administered in doctors’ offices or purchased at the pharmacy. The Health and Human Services secretary would negotiate the prices of 10 drugs in 2026, and another 15 drugs in 2027 and again in 2028. The number would rise to 20 drugs a year for 2029 and beyond…Democrats are also planning to extend the enhanced federal premium subsidies for Obamacare coverage through 2025, a year later than lawmakers recently discussed. That way, they wouldn’t expire just after the 2024 presidential election.” [CNN, 8/7/22]

NBC: Senate Passes Sweeping Climate, Health And Tax Package, Putting Democrats On Cusp Of Historic Win. “The legislation would empower Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies for the first time, cutting prescription drug prices for people 65 and older. The savings would help pay for a three-year extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies, which would stave off an expected rise in insurance premiums that were set to go into effect in 2023.” [NBC, 8/7/22]

Huffington Post: Senate Democrats Pass Sweeping Climate And Health Care Bill. “The bill would also enact a change Democrats have sought for more than a decade ― to allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies over the prices of prescription drugs. That kind of haggling was outlawed in the 2003 Part D prescription drug benefit bill passed by Republicans. A separate provision of the legislation would extend a temporary set of subsidies for the Affordable Care Act that reduce the price of insurance that people buy directly through HealthCare.gov, or through state-run insurance exchanges like Pennsylvania’s “Pennie” and Connect for Health Care Colorado. For some insurance buyers, the subsidies lead to savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.” [Huffington Post, 8/7/22]

USA Today: Senate OKs Sweeping Bill Lowering Drug Prices And Promoting Clean Energy, Setting Up Major Biden Win. “The bill would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices – long opposed by the pharmaceutical industry – and extend Affordable Care Act subsidies three more years through 2025.” [USA Today, 8/7/22]

Los Angeles Times: Senate Democrats Pass Sweeping Healthcare, Tax And Climate Bill. “The drug-price plan is the centerpiece of the Democrats’ bill, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022…The enactment of the Medicare drug negotiation policy — which Democrats have been pushing for nearly two decades — would mark a significant accomplishment that is likely to be popular with voters who are eager to go after drugmakers. It amounts to the most substantial change in healthcare policy since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/7/22]

Forbes: Health Insurers And 13M Enrollees Cheer Senate’s Extension Of Obamacare Credits. “The U.S. Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act Sunday extends subsidies for millions of Americans who buy individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.” [Forbes, 8/7/22]