Guest Op-Ed: The Inflation Reduction Act Is Lowering Costs for Seniors

By Katherine Clark, Congresswoman (MA-5)

In August, I got a call from Barry from Waltham. Tragically, his wife has cancer, and while her prescriptions are covered by Medicare, they cost $3,000 a month. Read that again: $3,000 a month. They’re watching their savings disappear while trying to afford her lifesaving medication. It’s an enormous stress as they struggle to keep her healthy and comfortable.

Barry’s story is precisely why my colleagues in Congress and I worked with President Biden to enact the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s a game changing new law that lowers health care costs for older Americans. Here’s how. 

First, the Inflation Reduction Act caps out-of-pocket prescription costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 a year. What’s more, insulin will be capped at $35 per month. As a result, older Americans and people with diabetes will save thousands of dollars annually. These cost savings will translate into lower premiums for Medicare Part D plans. In fact, if the Inflation Reduction Act were law in 2020, seniors in the Fifth District would have saved $7 million in reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

The bill also establishes a $0 copay for vaccines in Medicare Part D, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). No more out of pocket costs for the Shingle or Flu vaccines – they are now free. 

Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act finally empowers Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs directly with manufacturers. For decades, Big Pharma has been profiting off the American people. Drug companies targeted the U.S. market for price increases in part because Medicare could not negotiate directly with them, while many of our peer nations do. As a result, 1 in 4 American adults doesn’t take their medication as prescribed because they simply can’t afford them. Not anymore. Medicare will now be able to use its purchasing power to get seniors the best price for prescription medications. And if a pharmaceutical company increases its prices faster than the rate of inflation, they are now required to pay a rebate to Medicare – that money will go back into your pocket.

This new law is about one thing: putting seniors over politics. Health care shouldn’t be forcing families to go bankrupt – especially our seniors, who have spent their lives working and saving to have healthy retirements.  For Barry, his wife, and families across MA-5 and the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act is the health care win the American people deserve. I’m proud to have worked to get it over the finish line, and I’m ready to get back to work to continue expanding access to quality, affordable health care for all

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