After over a year of negotiations and near-death experiences, the Senate has managed to pass historic legislation that could, among several other things, lower prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare.
If passed by the House of Representatives, for the first time, Medicare will be allowed to negotiate with drug-makers on the price of prescription medicines.
It would cap the out-of-pocket costs that seniors pay annually for prescription drugs at $2,000 and would ensure that seniors have access to free vaccines. There would also be a rebate should price increases outpace the rate of inflation.
The new law would apply to 10 drugs initially, beginning in 2026, and then expand to include more drugs in the following years.
An added benefit is that the bill is projected to save the federal government billions of dollars.
To pass the bill, it required the votes of all 50 Democrats in the Senate, plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Harris, who presided over the Senate during the marathon voting. The Constitution makes the Vice President the presiding officer in the Senate who can vote in the case of a tie.
All 50 Republicans in the Senate voted against the bill.
TSCL applauds this action by the Senate, and we urge the House of Representative to quickly follow and pass the bill.
While the legislation does not do everything, we believe must be done to help seniors, it is historic in nature, and we hope it is only the beginning of what is needed to provide a fair and decent retirement for all of America’s seniors.