When we were first elected to Congress in 2018, our health care system was on life support. The Affordable Care Act narrowly survived repeal at the hands of President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress. Americans with pre-existing conditions were under constant threat of being denied coverage and the tax credits helping tens of thousands of Minnesotans purchase health insurance were at risk of being eliminated or drastically reduced. We promised to help because our constituents urgently needed change, and this summer, when we passed the Inflation Reduction Act, we delivered on that promise.
In August, Democrats unanimously passed the Inflation Reduction Act – making historic reforms and long-overdue improvements to our health care system. The passage of this legislation means reduced health care costs for thousands of Minnesotans – and we got it done while every single Republican in Congress voted against it. The bill will lower health care costs by extending Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits for three years, capping monthly copays of life-saving drugs, such as insulin, lowering prescription drug prices and protecting Americans on Medicare from Big Pharma’s exorbitant price hikes. This is a big deal for Minnesota seniors and working families, and proof that Democrats can deliver results for the American people.
The Inflation Reduction Act will save Americans thousands of dollars on their health care premiums and will help Minnesota build on the milestone reached last year when we reached our lowest-ever uninsured rate.
Last year, we voted to pass legislation to ensure nobody has to spend more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance. The Inflation Reduction Act extends these subsidies for three years so 13 million Americans can avoid major premium hikes and receive the tax credits they need to access affordable health care. We’re saving approximately 85,000 Minnesotans money on their health care and expanding affordable health care options for thousands of small business owners across our state. Millions of Americans and thousands of Minnesotans rely on the ACA tax credits to access their health care – and this bill takes critical steps to protect that access.
By passing the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats are standing up to Big Pharma’s greed to address the egregiously high cost of health care in our country. For decades we’ve watched as the drug companies hike up their prices while 30 percent of Americans report that they struggle to afford their medications. That fact that in the year 2022, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, millions of people can’t afford their life-saving medications is simply unconscionable.
And so, our legislation takes decisive action to change that, bringing our country into a new reality where Medicare has the power to negotiate lower drug prices and where no senior has to pay more than $2,000 per year for their medications. This means, people who are heavily burdened by inflated drug costs, like senior citizens living on a fixed income, will no longer be forced to stretch their life savings to afford the medicine they need. Right here in Minnesota, more than 27,000 seniors will see their prescription drug costs capped at $2,000 per year, and 47,000 Minnesotans will have insulin copays capped at $35 per month. These life-saving reforms will make a real difference in the lives of our constituents.
And yet, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished, especially in Washington, D.C. It is no accident that big pharmaceutical companies are already threatening those of us that stood up to them and passed the Inflation Reduction Act. The drug companies unleashed a $100 million lobbying attack on Congress to try and block this bill, and the PhRMA CEO said himself that members who vote to lower costs for Americans “won’t get a free pass.” But the fight to lower health care costs for Americans is not one we are willing to lose – and we will wear their attack ads as a badge of honor.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that doing right by the American people and Minnesotans is far more important than cowering to powerful special interest groups. The common sense health care reforms included in the Inflation Reduction Act are widely supported by the American people. More than 80 percent of Americans support giving Medicare the ability to negotiate for lower drug prices, including over 80 percent of Republicans, and 70% of voters say it’s important to renew ACA tax credits, including 55% of Republicans. At the end of the day, this isn’t a partisan issue – it’s just common sense: every American should be able to access and afford the medication they need to live.
To us, it’s simple: every single Minnesotan, no matter their zip code or income level, deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care – and the Inflation Reduction Act brings us one step closer toward making that a reality.
Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, Democrats, represent Minnesota’s 2nd and 3rd congressional districts.