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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Senate Passage Brings Hope Bill Could Rein In Prescription Costs

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022   

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill which could dramatically reduce prescription drug prices for older Americans.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes investments of nearly $370 billion in programs to reduce the effects of climate change, as well as changes aimed at capping prescription drug costs.

Provisions in the bill would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and cap insulin copays at $35 a month for people with Medicare Part D.

Cathy MacCaul, advocacy director for AARP Washington, said there are other important parts of the bill as well.

"It caps out-of-pocket prescription drug prices on Medicare Part D to $2,000 each year," MacCaul explained. "Which is going to be a huge financial relief to a lot of older Americans who pay so much more than that for their prescription drugs."

MacCaul pointed out it would also hold drug companies accountable if they raise prices faster than the rate of inflation. Republicans have condemned the bill, warning despite its name, the legislation could exacerbate the country's economic woes. The measure now heads to the U.S. House for a vote.

MacCaul noted prescription costs have been a persistent issue for older Washingtonians. She recalled one AARP member she spoke with, named John, pays $500 a month for his heart medication.

"That's $6,000 a year," MacCaul stressed. "$6,000 a year that he is paying, just so his heart is healthy enough to help him continue to live. That's outrageous."

MacCaul believes there is a lot to celebrate in the Inflation Reduction Act, adding Medicare has been unable to negotiate drug prices for two decades.

"Congress is really on the verge of finally bringing prescription drug price relief to seniors, and really, that cannot be underemphasized," MacCaul stated. "This is a historic moment."

Disclosure: AARP Washington contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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