— Landmark Legislation Includes Policies to Make Health Care and Prescription Drugs More Affordable for Current and Future Medicare Beneficiaries —
Washington DC—The Medicare Rights Center applauds the House and Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. This landmark legislation includes policies we have long championed to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for current and future Medicare beneficiaries.
“Thanks to the IRA, Medicare Part D enrollees will save money and worry less: they will no longer be exposed to limitless and uncertain costs. The bill creates a $2,000 cap on annual out-of-pocket drug spending and holds monthly insulin co-pays to $35. It expands eligibility for the full low-income subsidy to people with incomes up to 150% of poverty—about $20,000 in 2022—and makes important vaccines free of charge,” said Fred Riccardi, president of the Medicare Rights Center.
Critically, the bill also begins to address the drivers of Medicare prescription drug unaffordability: it requires Medicare to negotiate drug prices, penalizes manufacturers for price hikes that outpace inflation, and better aligns Part D pricing incentives.
It also temporarily extends the Affordable Care Act premium subsidies that have helped an unprecedented number of Americans gain coverage before they are eligible for Medicare, often easing Medicare transitions and reducing costs that can arise from delayed or deferred care.
“The IRA’s financial protections and structural improvements will be nothing short of lifesaving. Every day on Medicare Rights’ national helpline, we hear from older adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to pay for care. They may go without, or may cut back on other basic needs, like food or rent, just to fill a prescription. The IRA will help ensure fewer people face these impossible choices.
“We commend Congress for meeting the moment and urge President Biden to sign the bill into law without delay,” Riccardi continued.
“As Medicare Rights celebrates the IRA, we also look forward to building upon its success. We will continue to advocate for needed changes, including those that were under consideration but ultimately left out of the bill, such as allowing Medicare Part B to cover comprehensive vision, dental, and hearing services; investing in Medicaid home- and community-based services; closing the Medicaid coverage gap; and streamlining the Medicare Part D appeals system.”