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Senator Stabenow and Rep. Schakowsky Join Protect Our Care To Kick Off Medicare Autumn and Highlight Lower Drug Prices for Seniors

By October 17, 2023No Comments

New Medicare Autumn Campaign Coincides with Medicare Open Enrollment and Includes Nationwide Events, a Multi-State Tour, Digital Ads, and Themed Weeks

Watch The Full Event Here

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) headlined an event to launch Protect Our Care’s new Medicare Autumn campaign educating seniors on how Medicare is stronger than ever thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. During the event, speakers discussed how over the next several weeks, 65 million people will select their Medicare plans and see new benefits that could save them thousands of dollars on their prescription drug costs.

As part of Medicare Autumn, Protect Our Care’s Medicare-A-Van will be hitting the road for a 10+ state tour, “Medicare is Better Than Ever,” educating seniors across the nation. The campaign will include virtual and in-person events with members of Congress, senior HHS officials, storytellers, and experts following weekly themes in addition to social media content, paid digital ads, and new research.

Signed into law by President Biden last year, the Inflation Reduction Act introduced a $35 cap on monthly insulin copays, free shingles and other recommended vaccinations, protections from drug company price hikes, and $2,000 out-of-pocket caps on prescription drugs beginning in 2025. Critically, the law also gives Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices. Right now, the Biden administration is negotiating lower prices for the first round of prescription drugs under the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program, and those prices will take effect in 2026. This new program will lower prices for some of the highest-priced prescription drugs used to treat conditions like diabetes, heart failure, blood clots, and arthritis.

“Last year, Democrats and President Biden took on Big Pharma and won,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “Now, millions of seniors on Medicare have their insulin capped at $35 per month and are able to receive critical vaccines for free. Seniors will begin to see lower out-of-pocket costs, and Medicare will negotiate the price of prescription drugs. Our historic legislation is lowering costs and making a difference for millions of people.”

“Big Pharma has been making money hand over fist,” said Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09). “We have been spending up to four times as much for the same exact drug as other countries, for no reason except that Big Pharma could charge what they wanted. But now Medicare can finally begin negotiating for lower drug prices. We have made tremendous progress and it is going to mean so much to seniors across America.” 

“On my 68th birthday, I woke up with shingles and it was nothing to sneeze at,” said Linda Hamacher, a patient storyteller from Michigan. “But I didn’t realize that you still need the shingles vaccine even if you’ve already had shingles. Now seniors can get it without worrying about the cost and when you get older, these kinds of illnesses can be devastating and even deadly. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act more seniors are getting the care they deserve when they need to, not just when they can afford to.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act is providing a lifeline for my husband and me,” said Dawn LaGuerre, a patient storyteller from New York. “The cost of my medication has increased from $100 a month to up to $350 a month. We have to make very hard choices on what bills we’re going to pay and have fallen behind on some, including our mortgage. I have had to decide between eating or getting that NovoLog shot. It provides hope knowing that President Biden and Democrats in Congress are protecting health care and voting for a better quality of life for me. Medicare being given the power to negotiate with Big Pharma allows us the freedom to dream again.”

“Medicare is stronger than ever. As seniors make their Medicare enrollment choices for 2024, it is critical for them to know how they can save big on their prescription drugs thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care. “The new provisions could save Medicare enrollees thousands of dollars a year, with even more savings to come in 2025. However, we cannot lose sight of the ongoing threats to Medicare. Between court battles and legislative attacks, big drug companies and their allies want to move backwards and raise costs on seniors while lining the pockets of wealthy executives. It is critical that seniors know who is on the side of the American people and who is working overtime to support special interests.”

Medicare Autumn will include the following themes each week:

  • Week 1: Medicare Is Better Than Ever: President Biden and Democrats in Congress delivered long-overdue relief to seniors by finally lowering prescription drug prices. 
  • Week 2: Medicare Negotiation: Medicare now has the power to negotiate lower drug prices for some of the costliest drugs used to treat conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. 
  • Week 3: Insulin Cost Cap: 1.5 million Americans on Medicare now pay no more than $35 per month for their insulin copays. 
  • Week 4: Free Vaccines: Everyone on Medicare can now access free vaccinations, including for shingles, which impacts as many as one in three Americans. 
  • Week 5: Protections From Price Hikes: People on Medicare are now protected from drug companies’ egregious price hikes thanks to increased inflation rebates.
  • Week 6: $2,000 Out-Of-Pocket Cost Cap: Soon, everyone on Medicare will pay no more than $2,000 per year on their prescription drugs, saving seniors an average of nearly $400.
  • Week 7: Threats To Medicare: Some members of Congress are fighting to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s prescription drug savings while big drug companies are in court to stop Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices.