PORTLAND – After months of deliberation and negotiation, Friday marked Congress’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill which includes many provisions from the previously picked apart Build Back Better plan. In addition to including provisions to address climate change, the bill allows Medicare to negotiate some prescription drug prices and requires rebates on drug price hikes greater than inflation.
OSPIRG’s Health Care Advocate, Maribeth Guarino, issued the following statement:
“This is a big win for consumers in Oregon and across the country. Americans pay three times more for the same drugs as people in other countries while pharmaceutical companies make record-breaking profits. Medicare is the single largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the U.S., and allowing that program to negotiate prices is key to lowering health care costs. With limits on price hikes and savings estimates of close to $240 billion over the first ten years that this is in effect, this bill is the best consumer protection against prescription drug costs that the U.S. has passed in recent history.
At the state level, Oregon decisionmakers have improved transparency in the pharmaceutical industry and begun to lower overall health care costs, but federal action puts Oregon in a better position to adhere to policies like its cost growth target benchmark. It also provides firmer context that states like Oregon need to pursue more localized health care policies like state public options or redetermination.
This bill is a big step forward, one that will enable Oregon to continue pursuing its own health care policies while lowering costs for many older consumers across the country. We applaud Oregon’s congressional delegation, especially Senator Wyden, for fighting for this bill and its groundbreaking provisions to lower prescription drug costs.”