Historic Bill to Curb Big Pharma and Make Corporations Pay What They Owe Moves Towards Passage
Harrisburg, PA — Following the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act—a bill that will enact historic drug pricing reform, reduce health insurance costs, lower energy costs, and reduce the national deficit—Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center, and Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement:
The U.S. Senate’s vote to pass the Inflation Reduction Act makes historic progress on many fronts.
It takes a huge step forward in addressing the threat of climate change by investing $370 billion in a series of incentives to encourage the replacement of fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy. This legislation will put the United States on a path to meeting its commitment under the Paris Accord to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030 , while creating an estimated nine million jobs over the next decade—disproportionately trades and manufacturing jobs—including hundreds of thousands in Pennsylvania.
The IRA lowers drug costs for seniors, limiting Big Pharma’s monopoly power to overcharge for medicine. The legislation will enable Medicare to negotiate prices for the first time and will create the first-ever cap on out-of-pocket costs for seniors in Part D of Medicare. It will also limit the costs of insulin for diabetics on Medicare. These are long-overdue improvements that will make medicines affordable for seniors and their families and that will save taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade.
It makes health care premiums for insurance under the Affordable Care Act more affordable, including for the roughly 100,000 Pennsylvanians that took advantage of higher tax credits to secure health insurance in the last year. This legislation will keep health care premiums for a 60-year-old couple making $75,000 in Pennsylvania from seeing an increase in premiums of roughly $13,500 on Pennie, the state’s health care exchange.
These investments are fully paid for by enabling the IRS to finally track down wealthy tax cheats who have avoided paying what they owe for years. The legislation also requires the U.S. to join a world-wide compact to require price-gouging corporations to pay a minimum corporate tax on their profits. The bill’s tax provisions do not increase taxes on anyone making under $400,000 and raise more than $300 billion for deficit reduction.
The vote on this legislation clearly shows Pennsylvanians who is on their side and who is not.
We applaud Senator Bob Casey for supporting this legislation and for his tireless efforts over the past year to advance these reforms, even in the face of Republican opposition and intense lobbying from Big Pharma, oil companies, and other corporate special interests.
Sadly, Senator Pat Toomey joined all Republicans in voting against the bill. He did not even join the seven Republicans who voted for lowering insulin costs for Americans who have private insurance, instead opting to keep the cost of insulin out of reach for constituents who don’t have Medicare.
We urge our House representatives to support the bill and move it along to the president’s desk as soon as possible. In these tough times, Pennsylvania families have waited long enough for these critical measures to be enacted.
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