WOODBRIDGE – In front of a “We Love Our Seniors” sign, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6) said it was hard to hide his enthusiasm about the expected enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act.
“We’ve been waiting for the [U.S.] Senate to pass [the bill] since November,” he said. “We expect the president [Joe Biden] to sign it next week.”
The U.S. House of Representatives voted for the measure on Aug. 13.
Pallone held a press conference at Evergreen Senior Center in Colonia with Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac, local elected leaders and health care advocates on Aug. 12.
Evergreen Senior Center is one of six senior centers in Woodbridge Township.
The Inflation Reduction Act will lower prescription drug costs for seniors by empowering Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, capping the amount seniors pay at $2,000 annually, and capping the amount seniors pay for insulin at $35 per month. It requires drug manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare if they increase their prices faster than the rate of inflation. It will also dramatically lower the cost of monthly health insurance premiums for millions of Americans by extending Affordable Care Act Marketplace subsidies through the end of 2025, according to a press release through Pallone’s office.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is one of the most significant pieces of health care legislation to move through Congress in over a decade. It finally breaks Big Pharma’s monopoly on prescription drug prices. No one should have to choose between paying for lifesaving medications or food and rent,” Pallone said. “Importantly, it will help ensure seniors are no longer ripped off at the pharmacy counter by capping both their annual out-of-pocket drug spending as well as how much they can be charged for insulin. It also penalizes Big Pharma companies for unfairly hiking prices on seniors.
“The Inflation Reduction Act will also dramatically lower the cost of monthly health insurance premiums for millions of Americans and provide families with the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have high-quality health care coverage.”
Leslie Dach, founder and chair of Protect Our Care, called the bill a “game changer for millions of people.”
Evelyn Liebman, director of advocacy in New Jersey for AARP, representing 1.2 million Garden State members, said they have been working for nearly two decades to allow Medicare to negotiate the price it pays for medications.
“We can’t overstate what a monumental improvement this prescription drug package will be for older Americans struggling to afford their medications. We are now urging the House to move quickly and enact this momentous reform,” she said.
Laura Waddell, health care program director at New Jersey Citizen Action, said, “with the current levels of the cost of living and income inequality, the healthcare reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act will bring much-needed savings to New Jerseyans.”
The Inflation Reduction Act includes a number of key provisions that were originally authored and introduced by Pallone, who is the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and other health leaders in the House before being passed in the House of Representatives last November.
The key provisions include lowering prescription drug costs for Americans, expanding the Affordable Care Act and lowering health care costs.