Biden slams GOP attempt to raise drug prices for millions of Americans
House Republicans introduced a bill to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which caps drug costs and allows the government to negotiate prices.
President Joe Biden on Thursday highlighted Republican efforts to repeal the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, efforts that, if successful, would create a ripple effect, raising prescription drug prices for older Americans and undoing financial support for families receiving health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“If Republicans in Congress have their way, the power we just gave Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices goes away. The $2,000 cap next year on prescription drugs goes away. The $35-a-month insulin limitation goes away,” Biden said during an event at the University of Tampa in Florida, according to a transcript released by the White House.
Noting that Republicans have “been trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act for years,” Biden said that repeal of the Inflation Reduction Act would also cut $800 per year in savings for families purchasing health insurance via the 2010 health care law enacted by former President Barack Obama.
H.R. 812, known officially as “To repeal the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” was introduced on Feb. 3 by Rep. Andrew Ogles (R-TN). The legislation has 22 co-sponsors, all Republicans, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), George Santos (NY), Andy Biggs (AZ), Chip Roy (TX), Byron Donalds (FL), and Harriet Hageman (WY).
The Inflation Reduction Act passed through Congress with over unified Republican opposition, and Biden signed it into law on Aug. 16, 2022.
The law includes several provisions intended to lower costs for consumers related to prescription drug coverage. They include a cap of $2,000 per year on the costs of some medicines and a monthly cap on prescription costs beginning in 2025. The law also requires the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices.
Additionally, the law imposes a hard cap of $35 dollars a month on insulin for some Medicare recipients. A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services projected that more than a million older Americans could see an average savings of $500 per year through this provision.
The Inflation Reduction Act also extends financial help to many people who purchase health insurance through plans covered by the Affordable Care Act. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, those receiving assistance saved an average of $800 on their insurance premiums in 2021.
The assistance was set to expire at the end of 2022, but the Inflation Reduction Act extended the subsidy until December 2025.
In the most recent open enrollment period, from Nov. 1, 2022, to Jan. 15, 2023, a record 16.3 million people signed up for health insurance via the health care exchanges. It was the second year in a row that the record was broken, following renewed support for the program by the Biden administration via subsidies, promotions, and fixes to existing rules to expand coverage.
If Ogles’ legislation is enacted, the prescription drug coverage and health care assistance provisions will all be repealed. Currently, the bill has been referred to several House subcommittees. Even if it were to pass the House, it is unlikely that it would come up for consideration by the Senate, which has a Democratic majority.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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