August 3, 2022
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to urge you to vote for the Senate budget reconciliation proposals in the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce Medicare prescription drug costs and extend Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies. In addition, the National Committee urges you to vote against any amendments that would add legislation likely to result in Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts — such as S. 1295, the Time to Rescue United States (TRUST) Act — to the Inflation Reduction Act.
Prices for the most commonly prescribed drugs for seniors have increased ten times the rate of inflation since 2013. Medicare beneficiaries pay thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket drug costs they can’t afford. Some seniors have been cutting pills in half or outright skipping doses of lifesaving medications. The Inflation Reduction Act would make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of older Americans and people with disabilities by:
- Requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufactures on the prices on select numbers of the costliest drugs.
- Requiring drug companies to rebate to the government the amount by which drugs used under Medicare Part B and D rise faster than inflation.
- Capping Medicare beneficiaries’ Part D out of pocket costs at $2,000 per year.
- Covering the entire cost of all vaccines for Medicare beneficiaries.
- Expanding beneficiary eligibility for premium and co-pay assistance on prescription drugs from 135 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
The National Committee also supports provisions to cap beneficiary monthly insulin costs at $35 per month and require the HHS Secretary to negotiate prices directly with insulin makers.
We also support the Senate proposal to extend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies for an additional three years. Without the extension of subsidies made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, many seniors age 64 and younger who are enrolled in ACA marketplace health plans could be forced to pay more than a 300 percent increase for their insurance premiums.
The National Committee strongly opposes any amendments to the Inflation Reduction Act that would include S. 1295, the TRUST Act, or similar legislation. S. 1295 would create so-called “Rescue Committees” to draft legislation — for expedited consideration — to address the solvency of federal trust funds, including the Social Security and Medicare funds. This process would open these programs to a broad array of across-the-board cuts that the proposed committees may choose to offer with no opportunity for amendments and little time for the American public to fully understand the impact of the changes. What’s more, the bill fails to require the committees to consider the importance of benefit adequacy given the growing number of working and middle-class Americans who depend on Social Security for all or most of their income in retirement or how Medicare benefit cuts would undermine the health security of seniors and people with disabilities.
Lifting the prohibition on negotiating prescription drug prices will finally enable Medicare to contain, and even, lower skyrocketing drug costs paid by seniors and taxpayers. And extending subsidies to make health plan premiums affordable for individuals not yet eligible for Medicare will help millions of working and middle-class Americans keep essential health insurance. For these reasons, the National Committee urges you to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act. To prevent the creation of a process likely to result in cuts to earned Social Security and Medicare benefits, we urge you to vote against a TRUST Act amendment should it be offered.
President and CEO