Commentary

The Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for Nevada’s families

September 26, 2022 5:38 am

Joe Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act in August.

I worked hard for decades to set myself up for retirement. After a career in public service running Nevada’s unemployment insurance fraud program, I built a small business specializing in helping grieving families deal with personal property estates. During all these years, I paid into Social Security and Medicare. At 62, I want reassurance that my wife and I will be able to count on these programs as we grow older. That’s why I’m glad to see leaders in Washington taking historic action to strengthen Medicare and lower prescription drug costs for seniors. 

Like most retirees, I rely on prescription medications to stay healthy. To treat conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis, I take five medications regularly. Under my current insurance, I have great benefits; my monthly out-of-pocket cost is only about $50 a month for my prescriptions. When I enroll in Medicare in less than 3 years, I hope that my prescription costs will remain affordable. But I know folks on Medicare who currently face costs of $400 or $500 a month for a single drug. 

For decades, leaders in Congress failed to deliver on the promise to rein in exploitatively high drug costs, but we’re finally about to get some relief at the pharmacy counter with the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden recently signed into law. The Inflation Reduction Act will reduce costs for Americans, including seniors’ drug costs. Despite this, not a single Republican lawmaker voted in favor of this bill. 

I was a Republican for most of my life, ever since I first voted in the 1980 election. But over the years, I have watched Republican politicians become more extreme, even undermining the foundational values of our democracy. That is not to say that the Democratic Party always represents my perspective – I am registered as an independent – but I at least know that Democrats are fighting on behalf of many issues that I care about, like reducing medical costs and expanding access to lifesaving medications. 

For too long, pharmaceutical companies have held exclusive power to set drug prices. I recognize that research and development for new drugs is expensive and companies need to make a profit to stay in business. But if drugmakers can charge obscene prices and get away with it, they will. A wealthy CEO is not worried about drugs costing $2000 a month. But for a working class person? That price tag can be the difference between paying their utility bill or refilling a monthly prescription.  

By voting to allow Medicare to negotiate the costs of prescription drugs and capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs at $2000 a year, leaders like Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Rosen are leveling the playing field and giving seniors more of a voice in the costs we must pay. 

The Inflation Reduction Act is also fiscally responsible, which is very important to me. It will reduce the federal government’s deficit, save Medicare money, and raise revenue by closing tax loopholes exploited by billionaires and big corporations. No one making under $400,000 a year will see their taxes raised under this bill. Overall, this amounts to an investment in America’s economy that will reduce inflationary pressures and help a whole lot of Nevadans like me. 

No one ever knows when they will need a life-saving medication. When I enroll in Medicare soon, I know that I will enjoy my retirement more and worry about my finances less now that Medicare will be able to negotiate drug costs on my behalf.

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