Prescription Drugs

November 19, 2021

Retirees Applaud House Passage of Build Back Better Act that Lowers Drug Costs, Funds Home Care, Adds Guaranteed Hearing Benefit to Medicare

Statement by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding passage of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, H.R. 5376, in the U.S. House:

“The Alliance for Retired Americans applauds the House passage of the historic Build Back Better bill that will significantly improve the lives of older Americans.

“Seniors appreciate that the bill takes steps to lower prescription drug prices for retirees and all Americans. For the first time, Medicare will be required to negotiate lower drug prices for some medicines. The legislation also caps the price of insulin at $35 per month and annual out-of-pocket drug spending by Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000. In addition, inflationary caps will limit drug corporations’ capacity to raise prices faster than inflation.

“Adult vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that are covered under Medicare Part D, such as for shingles, would be covered at no cost, just like the flu and COVID vaccines under Part B are today. Together these provisions will help millions of Americans afford the medicines that they need to stay healthy.

“The legislation includes $150 billion to expand home health care and services for seniors and people with disabilities while also increasing wages and benefits for caregiving workers. With this funding, hundreds of thousands more Americans will be able to receive the long-term care and services they need at home, rather than an institution.

“We also strongly support the expansion of Medicare to include guaranteed hearing benefits for seniors with hearing loss. The average Medicare beneficiary spends $1,100 for hearing treatment, including hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation and falls and can increase the risk of dementia as people age.

“Now that the House has voted, it’s time for the Senate to deliver for the American people without delay.”

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Contact: Lisa Cutler, lcutler@retiredamericans.org

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