Passed by the Senate on Sunday, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) includes many long-sought changes to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for current and future Medicare beneficiaries.
This bill would transform Medicare’s drug pricing system by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time, restructuring Part D to better align pricing incentives, and penalizing drug manufacturers for raising prices faster than inflation.
It would also establish critical, potentially lifesaving beneficiary protections. It would cap Part D enrollees’ annual drug spending at $2,000 and their monthly insulin costs at $35, extend full Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) assistance to Part D those with incomes up to 150% of poverty, and eliminate cost sharing for Part D-covered vaccines.
It would help millions more who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare obtain coverage by continuing enhanced Affordable Care Act premium subsidies. First passed in the American Rescue Plan Act, this assistance has helped over five million older adults afford a Marketplace plan—likely easing Medicare transitions and costs.
Medicare Rights has advocated for many of these policies since Part D was enacted nearly 20 years ago. We applaud Senate passage and urge the House to swiftly follow suit.
That vote may come as soon as tomorrow. House approval would send the legislation to President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law. While many lawmakers have signaled support for the bill, we can’t take anything for granted!
Weigh in today and make sure your U.S. Representative knows to vote YES on the Inflation Reduction Act. Send a letter and make your voice heard.
As we celebrate the advancement of the IRA, we recognize it is smaller in scope than many advocates originally envisioned. It omits important reforms that were once under consideration for inclusion in a drug pricing or reconciliation package, such as an expansion of Medicare Part B to cover comprehensive vision, dental, and hearing services; investments in Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services; a closure of the Medicaid coverage gap; and a streamlining of the Part D appeals system. As these and other changes continue to be needed, so does our advocacy.
The IRA would meaningfully strengthen the health and financial security of millions of Americans, delivering tangible affordability improvements while beginning to address the drivers of those costs. We look forward to building upon these successes.
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