February 08, 2024

Picket Fence Media: Lowering Healthcare Costs for All Americans

Most every week, I hear from residents who are stressed about the cost of health care. For some, this means choosing between paying the rent or paying for a medical procedure. Just about everyone has seen their fair share of high health care costs.

The path to lower health care costs has been a complicated one, and Congress has debated how to address these concerns for years. However, over the last few years we have made significant progress. I proudly helped pass legislation to lower out-of-pocket spending for families across the country, and residents of the 49th Congressional District are already seeing results.

Insulin Costs Cap: Congress passed landmark legislation that now caps insulin costs at $35 per month for those on Medicare. Approximately 15,000 residents in the 49th District need daily shots of insulin. Under Medicare’s cap on insulin costs, Medicare recipients who rely on insulin to manage their diabetes will save an average of $330 a year compared to 2020 prices.

Medicare Drug Negotiations: When I was first elected in 2018, the idea that Medicare could be allowed to negotiate lower prescription drug prices with manufacturers seemed unattainable. Years of hard work have finally paid off. Thanks to legislation I supported and President Biden signed, Medicare can now negotiate drug prices for medications taken by millions of Americans that treat diabetes, cancer, and heart failure. Medicare sent out its initial price offering earlier this month and will negotiate with drug companies over the course of this year. We are finally holding drug companies accountable for how much they charge our seniors and American taxpayers.

Out of Pocket Costs: Starting next year, seniors will not pay a cent over $2,000 on out-of-pocket costs for their prescription drugs. This cap will save Americans thousands of dollars annually.

Premium Tax Credit Expansion: In 2024, a record 20 million Americans signed up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. The ACA provides premium tax credits, which serve as crucial relief for households by capping health insurance premiums based on household income, saving families in our district approximately $1,570 in premiums a year. I am working with my colleagues to make these enhanced premium tax credits permanent, so families do not have to worry about making ends meet and paying their health care premiums.

The Health Insurance Premium Fairness Act: We must continue to build on the ACA to lower health care costs. I recently introduced the Health Insurance Premium Fairness Act after hearing from my constituents Ted and Carla DeBont, whose premiums nearly doubled when Ted aged into Medicare and Carla remained on her ACA marketplace plan. This bill would close that loophole in the premium tax credit formula and keep costs low for families when one member ages into Medicare.

Expanding care for our veterans: In 2022, I joined fellow Democrats and Republicans in voting for and passing the Honoring our PACT Act. This law expands health care benefits to the millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits and other hazardous substances while on duty. It is the most significant piece of veterans’ health care legislation in 30 years.

No matter our political party, we all want access to low-cost, high-quality health care. We must continue to work on bipartisan solutions to improve our health care system. I will continue to engage with my colleagues on pragmatic policies to achieve this reality for all Americans.

By:  Rep. Mike Levin
Source: Picket Fence Media