Boost Pennsylvania’s Progress: Propel Forward Together
Residents of cities like McKeesport and rural communities such as Darlington Township in Beaver County, PA, strongly believe in the dignified living of older Pennsylvanians, free from the concern of soaring prescription drug costs.
For years, large pharmaceutical companies have been inflating the prices of crucial medications such as insulin. However, thanks to extensive efforts from President Biden and Congressional Democrats, seniors are beginning to enjoy reduced drug costs.
The one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, celebrated on Aug. 16, marked significant lowerings of prescription drug and health coverage costs for millions across America. This legislation has reduced healthcare premiums for independent coverage purchasers by an average of $2,400, capped Medicare insulin costs, and imposed penalties on large pharmaceutical corporations for excessive price hikes, which is already benefiting Pennsylvanians. Moreover, the upcoming cap on seniors’ annual drug costs at $2,000 and Medicare’s newfound ability to negotiate drug costs signal further improvements. The Biden administration will announce the first 10 drugs for price negotiations on Sept. 1.
Decades-long demands from grassroots activists and healthcare advocates for these changes have been fulfilled through a landmark victory for older Americans by President Biden.
To honor these achievements, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour was welcomed in Uniontown, PA, demonstrating the impact of these changes that have cut thousands from annual healthcare costs, with yet more savings on the horizon.
The conversation in Uniontown also covered the recent bipartisan approval by the Pennsylvania House of a bill to aid those with existing medical debt and prevent future medical debt by increasing transparency, reducing bureaucratic procedures, and streamlining access to health coverage and free or affordable care.
Efforts to lessen the financial burden of healthcare and prescription drugs must persist, as demonstrated by President Biden’s actions in D.C. with the Inflation Reduction Act and the ongoing work of the Shapiro-Davis Administration in Harrisburg, PA.
Despite this progress, large pharmaceutical corporations and their Republican supporters in Congress are attempting to halt these advancements to prioritize their substantial profits. The pharmaceutical industry has spent over $100 million on lobbying against the Inflation Reduction Act and is now suing the federal government to revoke Medicare’s negotiation power over drug prices. Amidst these efforts, they argue their industry should be exempt from negotiating with Medicare and should continue overcharging seniors and taxpayers to boost their already immense profits. This is a blatant insult to American patients who pay up to four times more for identical drugs than patients in other developed countries.
In addition to their unanimous opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act, Republicans are escalating their attacks on healthcare by introducing legislation to undo the Inflation Reduction Act’s measures to lower prescription drug costs and proposing cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. They have also recently passed a bill promoting flawed plans that can discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Nearly 19 million Medicare-dependent Americans are projected to save approximately $400 annually thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which is a monumental step forward in providing affordable, superior quality healthcare. This has also created a significant check on the power of large pharmaceutical corporations.
Retreating is not an option.
When Pennsylvanians unite, they can achieve grand feats, such as the repair and reopening of I-95 in under two weeks or the modernization of the Montgomery Locks and Dam. President Biden’s landmark legislation, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, is producing tangible benefits for everyday Americans. The progress must continue.
Austin Davis serves as the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania.
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