NCPSSM President and CEO Max Richtman joined two Pennsylvania congressmen in announcing that seniors will benefit from the just-enacted Inflation Reduction Act. Richtman appeared last week at Circle Pharmacy in Philadelphia with representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Dwight Evans (D-PA), two seniors champions who voted for the new legislation that includes significant measures to lower prescription drug prices. The event was covered by NBC 10, WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.
The Inflation Reduction Act allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma, a measure that is expected to save the program $288 billion over ten years – and lead to savings at the pharmacy counter for tens of millions of seniors and, eventually, all Americans. Negotiations will begin for ten of the highest cost drugs in Medicare. Negotiated prices will take effect beginning in 2026.
Speaking in front of the Circle Pharmacy counter, Richtman said:
“We would have liked to have more drugs covered, sooner, but the good thing is in this legislation, the drugs that are subject to negotiation are the costliest, so at least we’re going to get at the heart of the problem.” – Max Richtman, NCPSSM President and CEO, 8/18/22
Congressman Boyle, a member of the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, called the Inflation Reduction Act “one of the most significant pieces of legislation that I will have had the opportunity to vote on.” Rep. Evans, a member of the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee said, “This law makes a difference for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.”
Gwendolyn O’Neal, who co-owns the independent Circle Pharmacy, encounters seniors who cannot afford their prescription medications on a regular basis. “It’s hard. We want them to have the medicine they need to live,” she said.
“(The current prescription drug pricing system) makes it difficult for people. They sometimes have to choose between medicine and groceries or paying the rent. Often, their copays are very high and they get frustrated because they have to make that choice.” – Gwendolyn O’Neal, co-owner, Circle Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA, 8/18/22
The new law also includes two other landmark reforms: a $2,000 annual out-of-pocket limit on drug costs for patients in Medicare Part D — and a $35 monthly cap on insulin costs for beneficiaries. President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on August 16th, calling it a “godsend” for American families.
On August 19th, Max Richtman sent a congratulatory letter to President Biden for keeping his campaign promise to take action to lower prescription drug prices.
“The National Committee thanks you for your persistent efforts that led to the enactment of this landmark law. We look forward to working with you and your administration to advance legislation that will make further improvements in health care coverage, affordability and access for all Americans.” – Max Richtman letter to President Biden, 8/19/22
Richtman encourages other members of Congress who supported the new law to hold similar events to get the word out in advance of November’s mid-term elections, when advocates hope seniors will vote for the party that is demonstrably working to alleviate the pain of high health care costs.