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Left to right: Michael Byun - Asian Counseling Center Executive Director, Dr. Elizabeth Wako - Swedish Seattle Chief Executive, Senator Patty Murray, Representative Dr. Kim Schrier, Cathy MacCaul – AARP Advocacy Director, Jackie Boschok – WSARA President, Marianne Wilkins RPEC Chapter 46 VP (Screenshot from Senator Patty Murray’s official website)

WSARA Celebrated Passage of the IRA Bill with Senator Murray and Rep. Dr. Kim Schrier

From WSARA:

WSARA Celebrated Passage of the IRA Bill with Senator Murray and Rep. Dr. Kim Schrier

WSARA President Jackie Boschok and Marianne Wilkins, RPEC Chapter 46 Vice-President, had the pleasure of celebrating President Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act into law last week, in a press conference on August 23rd with Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Dr. Kim Schrier.

Left to right: Michael Byun – Asian Counseling Center Executive Director, Dr. Elizabeth
Wako – Swedish Seattle Chief Executive, Senator Patty Murray, Representative Dr. Kim
Schrier, Cathy MacCaul – AARP Advocacy Director, Jackie Boschok – WSARA
President, Marianne Wilkins RPEC Chapter 46 VP (Screenshot from Senator Patty
Murray’s official website)

This victory for older Americans is especially sweet because it shows seniors defeating the pharmaceutical industry. Fortunately, the efforts of 4.4 million Alliance members across the nation and our allies overcame the efforts of the 1,600 lobbyists the pharmaceutical corporations employed in 2021.

The Inflation Reduction Act legislation was a long time coming. Alliance members have been fighting to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for two decades. Nationally, ARA members first took bus trips to Canada to obtain more affordable medications as far back as 2002. At that time, our own WSARA member Louise Parry organized several of these charted bus trips from Seattle to Vancouver to purchase lower cost drugs there.

Jackie spoke about hearing from friends about seniors at the supermarket, having to leave food at the cash register so they could make ends meet. In a country as wealthy as the United States, no one should have to choose between taking medicine or putting food on the table. She called this legislation a game-changer, in that it will go a long way to help ensure retirees are not put in that terrible position.

Jackie spoke about hearing from friends about seniors at the supermarket, having to leave food at the cash register so they could make ends meet. In a country as wealthy as the United States, no one should have to choose between taking medicine or putting food on the table. She called this legislation a game-changer, in that it will go a long way to help ensure retirees are not put in that terrible position.

Now we will see results. Five to seven million Medicare beneficiaries could see their prescription drug costs go down because of the provision allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.

In addition, capping annual out-of-pocket drug spending at $2,000 under Medicare Part D will eliminate a major source of anxiety for millions of seniors.

Jackie Boschok proudly exclaimed, “I am a relatively healthy senior but need expensive eye drops to treat my dry eye condition. I look forward to being one of the more than 29,000 Medicare Part D enrollees in Washington State alone, who experienced out-of-pocket prescription drug costs over $2,000 in 2021 that will now have those costs capped at $2,000 per year.”

Marianne Wilkins prioritized this part of the Inflation Reduction Act as most impactful for her family, as well. Her husband takes Eliquis, one of the most common prescribed drugs in America today. The drug currently costs way less in Canada than here and is considered more effective than the older blood thinner drug. She agreed that action like this bill to lower drug costs was essential for those on a fixed income.

And nationally, 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from a guarantee that their insulin costs are capped at $35 for a month’s supply. Up until now, Americans have been paying the highest drug prices in the world, and one in four Americans has reported not taking at least one drug as prescribed because they couldn’t afford it.

Now that the Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris have voted, and President Biden has made this legislation the law of the land, we will see major improvements.

We will finally be putting seniors ahead of pharmaceutical corporations to deliver lower drug prices for the American people.

And the Inflation Reduction Act goes beyond drug prices. Another thing that it addresses is vaccines.

Beginning in 2023, 4.1 million Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Part D will not have a co-payment for any vaccines that are recommended for adults by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The Inflation Reduction Act is a huge step forward in the fight to address skyrocketing prescription drug prices and health costs. It definitely was a day for celebrating.

For more on the press conference, read the KIRO News MYNorthwest article here and the Seattle Weekly here.

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