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From The National AFL-CIO: Eight Ways The Inflation Reduction Act ‘Helps’ Working People

Published Tuesday, August 2, 2022
by National AFL-CIO Staff
From The National AFL-CIO: Eight Ways The Inflation Reduction Act ‘Helps’ Working People

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) has announced an agreement with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (Democrat-West Virginia) to bring a slimmed-down version of the Bill - previously known as the Build Back Better Act, to the Senate floor before the start of the August recess.

National AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler applauded the agreement, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, saying: “This new Bill shows that Congress understands we urgently need economic solutions that offer real help for Working Families.  Taking these steps to lower health care costs and address our broken tax code that has allowed the extremely wealthy and the biggest corporations to avoid paying their fair share will deliver fundamental economic change in our Nation.”

Here are eight provisions of the legislation that will benefit working people:

  1. Negotiation of Lower Drug Prices for Seniors: Medicare will begin negotiating lower drug prices for Seniors and people with disabilities. Drug price negotiation will focus on the highest expenditure drugs that have been on the market for between nine and 13 years. Negotiation will also save the Medicare program $99 billion, which will bolster the program financially.
  2. Inflation Caps for Prescription Drugs: The Bill caps increases in prescription drug prices to the rate of inflation, putting a much-needed limit on how much manufacturers can raise costs for people who rely on prescriptions to manage their health. The current Bill language applies this cap to drugs sold to people in private health plans, as well as people in Medicare. These provisions are expected to save private plans and the Medicare program billions of dollars.
  3. Improved Medicare Prescription Benefits: Seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D will be capped at $2,000 a year, benefitting 1.4 million enrollees annually. In addition, cost sharing for vaccines will be reduced to $0. This cap will take an incredible weight off of the shoulders of older adults living on a fixed income.
  4. Preventing a Premium Spike for ACA Enrollees: The Bill prevents premium increases for 13 million people for the next three years by extending the enhanced premium tax credits for people with Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage. The enhanced credits provided by the American Rescue Plan Act significantly reduce premiums for marketplace enrollees with low/middle incomes and cap premiums at 8.5% of income for all enrollees. Without this new Bill, the policy will expire at the end of 2022.

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