President signs Inflation Reduction Act with health care provisions

President Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with health insurance subsidies, future negotiations on Medicare drug prices and caps on insulin costs for beneficiaries of Medicare.

Along with upcoming health care, climate change and tax reforms, Biden called it one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history, through which “the American people won and special interests Are lost”. He spoke at a White House signing ceremony broadcast on whitehouse.gov, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-Caroline Du South, the House majority whip.

Physician groups and health care analysts have generally hailed the legislation for its effects on health insurance and Medicare drug prices. The President recalled several provisions that have already made the news:

  • Medicare prescription drug costs will be capped at about $4,000 per year in 2024 and $2,000 per year starting in 2025.
  • An estimated 13 million people will continue to save on health insurance costs through insurance premium subsidies purchased through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will have insulin costs capped at $35 per month.

Doctors respond

The American College of Physicians (ACP) was pleased to see that the IRA was passed by the House and would be enacted. The legislation includes many of the policies the CPA has long advocated for and will help millions of Americans better access needed health services and treatment, said a CPA statement released Aug. 15, the day before the signing. provided for in the bill by the President.

“The CPA strongly supports the provision that will extend increased subsidies for health insurance plans purchased on the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges, as these increases have led to record numbers of Americans having access to health insurance,” university president Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, said in the statement.

“We also support provisions that will help Medicare beneficiaries better afford needed medications,” Mire said. “Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers and capping the cost of insulin for beneficiaries are two necessary steps that the CPA has long supported as tactics to combat rising cost. prescription drugs. Finally, changes to fund clean energy projects and reduce carbon pollution are essential steps to start mitigating climate change and ensuring our planet continues to be healthy enough to support healthy humans. .

Analysts react

The IRA is “an important step in the fight to ensure access to affordable, quality health care,” said Avenel Joseph, PhD, MS, vice president of policy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“This is a huge achievement towards developing policies that will improve people’s lives,” Joseph said in a released statement. “Keeping health care affordable will make care more accessible at a time when people need relief. However, this is only a first step in the right direction. As a country, we must do more to create an equitable nation where everyone – no matter who they are, where they live or how much they earn – has the opportunity to live their healthiest lives.

Joseph called for legislative action to provide insurance coverage to nearly 4 million uninsured adults, including at least 2.4 million people of color, 500,000 people with disabilities and nearly 1 million Americans aged. They are not eligible for insurance coverage through Medicaid due to the states in which they live, according to the foundation.

Congress should renew the expanded child tax credit, create national standards for family and medical leave, and create affordable, stable housing, Joseph said. He and the RWJF President posted a comment in The hill about what the IRA might have been.

A step

Commonwealth Fund leaders also used the word ‘milestone’ to describe the effects of making health care more accessible and affordable for people. The bill provides subsidies for ACA insurance premiums and reduces prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, said Lovisa Gustafsson, vice president of the fund for health care cost containment. Health, and Sara R. Collins, Principal Investigator and Vice President of Health Care. coverage and access, and health system performance monitoring.

“This landmark bill dramatically lowers the cost of health care for millions of Americans who purchase coverage on their own and for many Medicare beneficiaries,” they said in a summary released Aug. 15. “It will enable people to obtain and maintain affordable coverage in ACA markets, where premium cost is the most commonly cited reason people do not purchase or drop out of coverage. are an important step in making prescription drugs more affordable for Medicare patients and could pave the way for future reforms.

By the numbers

On August 15, the White House released a summary of the IRA “By The Numbers”, with various facts and figures relating to health care and other parts of the bill.

The “Overcoming Special Interests” section stated:

$187 million: the amount the pharmaceutical industry spent on lobbying in 2022

  • 1,600: number of pharmaceutical company lobbyists in 2021, three times the number of members of Congress
  • 33 years: Length of time congressional Democrats tried to cut prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices
  • 19 years: length of time Medicare was prevented from negotiating prescription drug costs

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