DENVER — With just 100 days until the midterm elections, Senate Democrats have landed on an agreement that packages climate provisions with drug pricing, tax and health care reforms. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a whopping $369 billion deal, signifies a monumental win for Democrats following months of contentious negotiations. The announcement of the deal, which took Capitol Hill by surprise last Wednesday, signals a busy week for Democrats. This week, on the heels of the 57th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, Senators expect a Byrd Bath and floor vote on the bill before leaving for recess on August 5.
“Just last week, Democrats in the Senate tentatively settled on a deal to extend expiring Affordable Care Act subsidies for an additional three years, avoiding skyrocketing health insurance premium increases for millions of Americans come 2023. The agreement would also allow Medicare to negotiate drug pricing, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and effectively saving the federal government nearly $288 billion over the next decade. The bill would enact some of the most sweeping changes to our health care system since the 2021 American Rescue Plan.
Democrats hope to pass this bill via reconciliation, with just 50 Senate votes and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. They do not anticipate a single yes vote from Senate Republicans, despite the fact that the deal will ensure health care coverage for millions of Americans, lower drug prices and save billions of federal dollars. Once again, self-proclaimed ‘pro-life’ Republicans plan to vote against legislation that will save lives.
As we anticipate the coming week’s Byrd bath and Senate vote on this sweeping legislation, we must note which elected officials voted to support these crucial, life-saving reforms. Just 100 days from today, we have an opportunity to elect health care champions. We deserve elected officials who will, no matter the party affiliation, support and defend our access to affordable health care coverage, affordable prescription drugs and reproductive health care. If Republicans can’t muster the courage to support a bill that will benefit millions of Americans, we must meet them at the ballot box.”
Laura Packard is the founder of Voices of Health Care Action, executive director of Health Care Voter, and a stage-4 cancer survivor. The Affordable Care Act saved her life. She is a co-host of Care Talk, a call-in health care show on act.tv to answer America’s health insurance questions about the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid (airing Mondays at 4:30pm ET). If you’d like to connect with Laura about the ACA, the cost of health care, or her 2023 plans, please reach out to Charlotte Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.