Democrats Didn’t Achieve All Their Goals, but Inflation Reduction Act Makes Historic Medicare Changes

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Health

The giant health care, climate, and tax bill expected to pass the House on Friday and be sent to the president for his signature won’t be as sweeping as the Democrats who wrote it had hoped, but it would help millions of Americans better afford their prescription drugs and health insurance.

The Inflation Reduction Act is estimated to spend about $485 billion over 10 years on health and alternative energy programs while raising about $790 billion through tax revenue and savings. The difference would be used to help reduce the deficit.

On the health front, the legislation achieves two key goals of congressional Democrats. First, it would give the federal government the ability to negotiate prices of some drugs purchased by Medicare beneficiaries, a tool that has long been opposed by the drug industry. Second, it would extend the enhanced premium subsidies for people who buy insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces that Congress put in place last year to help confront the covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s historic. Never before have we been able to negotiate prescription drug prices. This is something we’ve been fighting for [for] decades,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week. “I want more, of course — we always want more. But this is a great deal.”

The bill extends the enhanced subsidies, which will expire this year if they are not continued, through 2 …

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