New Bill Will Majorly Lower Prescription Cost for Black and Latino Seniors

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Courtesy of Eric Hunsaker (Flickr CC0)

The Inflation Reduction Act was passed by the House today. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden to be signed. Before it was placed into the House’s hand the Senate negotiated a 755-page version of the bill for months.

Now millions of older Americans could benefit from the new tax, health care, and climate legislation. The nearly $700 billion package will address inflation in two major ways:

  • Lower health care and energy costs for families.
  • Help bring down the deficit.
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Courtesy of Jamie (Flickr CC0)

The Inflation Reduction Act could significantly lower the price of prescription medications for those who from chronic diseases and struggle with high costs — Black and Latino seniors. Once Biden signs the newly passed legislation, Medicare will be given the power to negotiate prices with drug companies for up to 10 medications starting in 2026.

Low-income Americans along with Black and Latino seniors on Medicare may benefit from the additional provisions the new legislation could add. It is a well-known fact that Black and Latino seniors’ are twice as likely to struggle to pay for prescriptions than white Americans.

Tricia Neuman, executive director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program on Medicare Policy, stated, “This is a population that’s more likely to live with certain diseases that are often treated with expensive medications. It’s also a population with relatively limited income and assets.”

She added that this created “a double whammy that makes Black and Latino beneficiaries more vulnerable.”  However, it places them in a position “they’re likely to be helped by the provisions.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif-D) said the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act was “historic.” Adding that “it’s transformative and really a cause for celebration.”

During his nearly 50-minute speech, House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy asserted that “the  majority jams through another spending spree.” He added that he thought it was “the largest tone-deaf bill we’ve seen in this chamber in 230 years.” Others, like Senator Bernie Sanders, feel the bill does not do enough to help alleviate strains on working families fast enough.

On top of the $2,000 annual cap on drug costs for seniors and a monthly cap of $35 for insulin, the bill has lauded a $369 billion investment toward climate control. It will also eliminate vaccine prices for seniors and has a three-year extension of federal subsidies for lower-income Americans who buy private insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This would help up to 15 million people in the United States.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

The Guardian: Black and Latino seniors to see exorbitant prescription drug costs drop thanks to new US bill
NPR: What the Inflation Reduction Act does and doesn’t do about rising prices
USA Today: House passes Inflation Reduction Act, sends it to Biden

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Eric Hunsaker’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Jamie’s Flicker Page – Creative Commons License

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