Here in Nebraska and across the country, millions of seniors will get relief thanks to a new law that will help reduce out-of-control drug prices. For the first time in decades, Big Pharma's relentless grip on their wallets, medicine cabinets and peace of mind will begin to be pried loose.
After years of calling on Congress to make prescription drugs more affordable, we won the fight for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and help millions of seniors save money on their medications. That, in and of itself, is huge. But the new law, passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, will significantly benefit Nebraska seniors in other ways.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:
- Starting in January 2023, it will limit the out-of-pocket cost of insulin to $35 a month for people on Medicare, saving money for an estimated 17,000 Nebraska Medicare beneficiaries who take this life-saving drug.
- Also taking effect in 2023, the new law makes shingles and other vaccines free for people with Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Some 28,000 Nebraska Medicare beneficiaries received a Part D vaccine in 2020, and that number is likely to rise with the expansion of free vaccines.
- For the first time, all 263,000 Nebraskans with Medicare Part D will have peace of mind of knowing their pharmacy costs are capped. Currently, Medicare beneficiaries with serious health conditions can face catastrophic out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. The new law requires Part D plans to beef up financial protections that will phase in starting in 2024, with a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap taking effect in 2025. Each year, that will help at least 13,000 Nebraska Medicare beneficiaries who would otherwise have out-of-pocket costs above the cap.
It's estimated the law will save taxpayers and Medicare hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years by lowering out-of-control drug prices and by penalizing drug companies if they raise prices higher than the inflation rate.
This is a historic victory, and it couldn't come at a more needed time. Americans have had to pay three times more for their medications than people in other countries pay for the same drugs. And with the impact of inflation on all of us, seniors who worked hard their entire lives, raising families, building this country and giving back to their communities, shouldn't have to choose between filling a prescription or buying gas and groceries. For millions of seniors, this new law is genuinely life changing
AARP led the fight to lower drug prices for America's seniors, and we won. Our members, activists and volunteers here in Nebraska and across the country stood up to the big drug companies' army of lobbyists with their massive war chest and millions of dollars in misleading advertising, and we won. Few people thought it would get done, but we did it.
As sweet as this victory is, though, the fight isn't over. Drug companies are already spending millions to overturn the new law and stifle competition so they can drive up their high profits and keep charging Americans the highest prices in the world for the drugs they need.
AARP will keep fighting here in Nebraska and across the country, and we won't back down until all Americans 50+ can afford their medication. It's the right thing to do, and older Americans deserve nothing less.
Click here to learn more about what the new law means for you or your loved ones with Medicare.