Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference at the Fulton City Municipal Building in Oswego highlighting how provisions in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act will lower the cost of prescription drugs, keep down health insurance premiums, and make health care more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. Senator Gillibrand successfully co-led the effort to extend the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expanded premium tax credits (PTCs) that were set to expire this year. The inclusion of these provisions in the IRA will save millions of Americans from losing their health care coverage. Gillibrand was joined by Deana Michaels, Mayor of the City of Fulton, and Diane Cooper-Currier, Executive Director, Oswego County Opportunities.
“As the cost of food and other essentials has skyrocketed over the past several months, New Yorkers simply cannot afford to pay more for lifesaving prescription drugs or health insurance, or worse, to lose access to care entirely,” said Senator Gillibrand. “That’s why I led the fight in Congress to extend expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies and help ensure that millions of Americans can keep their health insurance. Today, I’m proud to be announcing that the Inflation Reduction Act will not only extend these subsidies, but also lower prescription drug costs, cap costs for older Americans, and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which will result in big savings for Medicare beneficiaries. This is a historic investment in working families and working people and a major step towards ensuring that health care remains accessible and affordable.”
“Our seniors are some of our most vulnerable members in our community,” said Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels. “The increased cost of living and ability to afford the essentials continues to be a burden. We must continue to find ways to lessen that burden on our aging community while supporting a healthy quality of life”
“OCO provides services to over 14,000 under resourced individuals each year with many having to make critical decisions about whether to pay their rent, put food on their table or pay for their critical health care and prescriptions, said Executive Director of Oswego County Opportunities Diane Cooper-Currier. “Capping the cost of prescription costs for seniors and the disabled is a game changer and will help so many individuals no longer choose between their taking care of their health or keeping their home. We thank Senator Gillibrand, President Biden and all those who made this significant change possible.”
Earlier this year, Gillibrand led the Senate coalition effort with Senator Shaheen to extend emergency provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that expanded the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) premium tax credits and made coverage through the marketplace more affordable for millions of Americans. The Inflation Reduction Act will extend these credits for the next three years for those buying their own health coverage on the ACA marketplaces. If the credits had been allowed to expire, an estimated 49,000 New Yorkers would have lost health insurance coverage. An additional 94,000 New Yorkers would have kept their marketplace coverage but been forced to pay higher premiums.
In addition to extending ACA tax credits, the Inflation Reduction Act will also:
- Allow Medicare to begin negotiating directly for the price of prescription drugs in 2023 in order to ensure that patients with Medicare get the best deal possible on high-priced drugs.
- Cap Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 per year: Today, there is no cap on the cost of prescription drugs that seniors and people with disabilities buy from pharmacies. The IRA caps Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 per year, ensuring that seniors and people with disabilities with serious health conditions do not have to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for individual drugs.
- Provide free vaccines for seniors: This change makes most vaccines free for older adults and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare.
- Cap monthly cost sharing for insulin to $35. More than 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries take one of the common forms of insulin.
- Expand premium and co-pay assistance on prescription drugs for low-income individuals: The IRA expands the low-income subsidy program (LIS) under Medicare Part D to be fully available to seniors and people with disabilities earning less than 150% of the federal policy level.