Landmark bill's cost-reduction efforts draw praise from healthcare groups

Groups across the healthcare industry had overall favorable reactions to a sweeping $739 billion bill passed by Senate Democrats on Aug. 7 that touches healthcare, energy and tax reform.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which the House is expected to take up Aug. 12, would invest $64 billion to extend the Affordable Care Act's federal health insurance subsidies through 2025. It also would allow Medicare to negotiate prices of a limited number of drugs with manufacturers and set a $2,000 a year limit on the amount people with Medicare Part D pay out-of-pocket for prescription medicines, among other provisions.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many disparities in access to coverage and care, we commend senators for agreeing on a bill that will allow patients and families to maintain access to affordable coverage, empowering them to seek care before treatable conditions become more complicated and costly," Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO David Skorton, MD, said in a statement. "Additionally, the high cost of prescription drugs often prevents patients from obtaining the medications they need. We support efforts to lower drug costs and increase access to affordable medications."

Bruce Siegel, MD, president and CEO of America's Essential Hospitals, expressed similar sentiments in his statement, saying the bill "would safeguard access to care for millions of individuals and families — a critically important outcome, given the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and emerging public health challenges, such as monkeypox."

Dr. Siegel did, however, express disappointment that the bill does not address funding for hospital workforce and infrastructure needs.  

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the national federation of more than 30 BCBS companies, weighed in as well. Specifically, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association President and CEO Kim Keck praised the fact the bill would extend ACA tax credits.   

"The Senate's extension of these tax credits will protect nearly 13 million Americans from cost increases at a time when the price of everything — from gas to groceries — is rising," Ms. Keck said in a statement.

To read the AAMC's full statement, click here

To read the AEH's full statement, click here

To read the BCBS Association's full statement, click here

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