Sen. Tammy Baldwin: Cutting out-of-pocket costs

When I ran for the Senate in 2012, I highlighted how wrong it was that the secretary of Health and Human Services was prohibited from negotiating prescription drug prices on behalf of millions of Medicare beneficiaries. That is why I have been working to pass reforms that would lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars by empowering Medicare to begin negotiating directly over the price of prescription drugs. Not only is this common sense, it is overwhelmingly popular. Recent public opinion research showed 92% of Wisconsinites support allowing Medicare to use its leverage to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for the more than 1 million people in the state enrolled in the program.

With recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, I am proud to stand on the side of delivering relief for millions of seniors and working families. The new law will ensure that patients participating in Medicare get a better deal on high-priced drugs. It also caps out-of-pocket costs for Medicare recipients at $2,000 a year and holds drug companies accountable for price increases by requiring them to rebate the difference to Medicare if they raise prices higher than inflation.

For far too long, skyrocketing prescription drug costs have been a burden for working families, while drug companies have enjoyed record profits. One specific medicine that has been overpriced is insulin. An estimated 1 in every 3 seniors live with diabetes, and those with Type 1 need affordable insulin multiple times every day. This can be a matter of life or death, yet rising costs have put this medication out of reach for far too many. The Inflation Reduction Act brings affordable insulin within reach for seniors enrolled in Medicare by capping the out-of-pocket cost at $35 per month.

In addition to providing relief for seniors, the law also includes a three-year extension for enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies that Congress passed last year under the American Rescue Plan Act. The extension will increase financial help available to people already eligible to buy subsidized plans in the ACA marketplaces while expanding subsidies to more people, many of whom were previously priced out of coverage.

I voted for the Inflation Reduction Act to deliver results by cutting out-of-pocket costs for people like Otis across the country. This is real, life-changing relief for working families and it is about time we got the job done for them.

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