AMSA Celebrates Monumental Inflation Reduction Act Passage
Today, the House and Senate have sent the most progressive health care legislation since the Affordable Care Act to President Biden’s desk. When President Biden finally signs the bill, it will have long standing and significant impacts on the lives of millions of people. AMSA applauds Senate Democrats and House Democrats, especially Senator Schumer, for passing the ground breaking Inflation Reduction Act.
At AMSA, we are constantly fighting for ways to make healthcare more affordable, equitable, and just; this bill takes great steps towards that goal. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) extends ACA Subsidies, which otherwise would have expired on December 31st, to save millions from increasing premiums. It caps drug costs for seniors to $2,000 per year and insulin prices at $35 a month for Medicare enrollees. On top of that, the bill allows Medicare to begin to negotiate drug prices, which effectively sets the bar for the rest of the country.
Without the ACA subsidies, over 10 million people would have seen their premiums increase by hundreds to thousands of dollars and an additional 3 million would have been forced off of their insurance plans. This single provision will impact 13.3 million peoples lives on an intimate level. The other healthcare provisions would reduce drug costs for 1.5 million people and save Medicare over $100 billion. As healthcare workers, we will feel these impacts as well as many more of our patients will be able to afford their medications and seek treatment, rather than being forced to delay or skip doses and presenting to the emergency department with severe complications.
Outside healthcare, the bill takes significant steps to protect the environment as well by providing tax relief and rebates for solar, electric vehicles, and upgrading appliances to be more energy efficient.
Despite all of the great aspects to this bill, it is by no means a perfect piece of legislation. Notably, the $35 cap on insulin for all private insurances, introduced by Sen. Warnock (D-GA), failed when all but 7 republican senators voted against the bill, which needed 60 votes to pass. This would have greatly impacted the more than 7 million people who rely on insulin in the United States, many of whom need to skip doses due to the $100 per vial cost, leading to a host of devastating consequences.
It also does not include provisions to expand medicaid to cover the 2 million people in 12 states who have not done so, nor to expand Medicaid coverage of postpartum care from 60 days, to 1 year. We need Congress to continue to work and pass these necessary laws.
They will not do it though unless we tell them. Call your Senators and House Representatives and demand they pass legislation to:
- Cap insulin at $35/month for all people in the United States
- Expand Medicaid coverage to 138% of the federal poverty line in all states
- Expand Medicaid coverage of postpartum care to 1 year
We also encourage all medical students to write Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor to demand these additional provisions be passed and to show your support for the Inflation Reduction Act.
Further, if we want to keep making progress on healthcare and the environment, we must vote! Ensure you are registered to vote here and make sure all your friends and family are as well!
If you need help calling your representative or writing an Op-Ed or LTE, please email Michael Walls, AMSA President email@example.com.
This is an official Statement from the American Medical Student Association, written by Dr. Michael Walls, DO MPH, AMSA National President.