Legislation will lower prescription drug and health care costs and create clean energy jobs, while reducing the deficit
Bill includes Casey provision to ensure health and disability benefits for coal miners as well as Casey provisions to manufacture in America, especially in energy communities
Casey: “As families across Pennsylvania and the Nation are being squeezed by inflation, Democrats are tackling this problem head on.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is announcing that Senate Democrats passed the historic Inflation Reduction Act to lower health care and prescription drug costs for families and older adults, ensure American manufacturing is at the forefront of clean energy industry, reduce energy costs while tackling the climate crisis, and slash the deficit by making big corporations pay their fair share. Senator Casey fought for the inclusion of provisions to lower prescription drug costs for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, to give a bonus to new clean energy investments made with American materials and to those situated in former coal communities; as well as his provisions to keep the Black Lung Trust Fund solvent so that coal miners and their families across Pennsylvania can continue to access the life-sustaining health and disability benefits they deserve.
Senator Casey released the following statement on the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act:
“As families across Pennsylvania and the Nation are being squeezed by inflation, Democrats are tackling this problem head on. The Inflation Reduction Act will lower health care and energy costs for families while creating well-paying jobs to transition the U.S. to clean energy and tackle the climate crisis. It’s a fiscally responsible bill that will bring down our national debt by ensuring profitable corporations start paying their fair share, just as American families have been doing all along.
“It costs a lot of money to be sick in America. Many people are just one medical emergency away from bankruptcy, while other families and seniors are slowly draining their savings to pay for lifesaving prescription drugs. In the American Rescue Plan, Democrats made Marketplace health care plans more affordable; this legislation extends those subsidies for another three years. For the first time, Medicare will be able to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices and annual out-of-pocket costs will be capped at $2,000. I’m proud to say this legislation also includes a provision I fought for to ensure low-income seniors and people with disabilities are able to afford their medications. These are commonsense solutions that build on the promise of the Affordable Care Act and ensure families don’t have to choose between their health and their bank accounts.
“We’re currently living in a moment when once-in-a-lifetime storms are happening every couple of months. Severe weather conditions are now the norm. While hurricane remnants are flooding the Vine Street Expressway in Philadelphia, out west states are on fire and lakes are disappearing in the worst drought in a millennium. It’s well past time we take bold action to address the climate crisis. This legislation is the most ambitious climate bill the Senate has ever passed. It will lower costs for Americans at the gas pump and on their electricity bills. It will shore up the U.S.’s place as a clean energy producer and reduce our greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030, while investing in the coal communities that powered our nation for generations. Better yet, we’re going to create 9 million well-paying jobs in the next decade to get this done. I successfully fought to include a provision that will promote the creation of family-supporting clean manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. rather than in competitors like China, because we don’t have to choose between green energy and our workers.
“Over the past year, President Biden and the Democratic Congress have made transformational investments in the U.S. economy and American workers. Between the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and now the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats have passed legislation that will boost the economy and create jobs in our infrastructure, supply chain, domestic manufacturing and clean energy sectors. President Biden’s agenda is delivering for Pennsylvania.”
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes provisions that will lower health care and prescriptions drug costs, invest in clean energy and reduce carbon emissions and the national deficit, while creating and sustaining millions of jobs for Americans.
Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
For the first time, Medicare will be able to negotiate directly for the price of prescription drugs to make high-priced and high-use prescription drugs more affordable for the more than 63 million people with Medicare. The Inflation Reduction Act will also cap Medicare Part D patients’ out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 per year, with the option to break that amount into affordable monthly payments. It also institutes a new provision to impose penalties on drug companies who hike up prices in Medicare above the rate of inflation.
The IRA also includes several policies that will improve access to and affordability of medications for seniors and people with disabilities. In addition to capping annual out-of-pocket costs, the IRA creates a $35 a month cap for insulin products under Part D, and expands cost-sharing assistance for low-income people with Medicare, a provision Senator Casey championed through his Lowering Medicare Premiums and Prescription Drug Costs Act. The IRA will also make eligible vaccines free for seniors with Medicare Part D.
Extending ACA Subsidies
The American Rescue Plan, passed by Democrats in 2021, expanded subsidies to provide more Americans with affordable health care through the Affordable Care Act. Because of these enhanced premium tax credits, the average family of four with a household income of $75,000 is saving around $248 per month. The IRA extends the enhanced subsidies until 2025, protecting affordable health care for millions of Americans. It also extends the American Rescue Plan provision that allows many low-income families to receive a subsidy to cover the full value of their premiums and prevents families from falling off a financial cliff as their income rises. Combined, these policies have dropped the uninsured rate to a historical low over the last two years, and their extension will prevent an estimated 3.4 million Americans from losing their health coverage.
Tackling the Climate Crisis and Creating U.S. Energy Security
The IRA is the single biggest climate investment in U.S. history. This ambitious piece of legislation will put the U.S. on a path to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 while lowering American families’ energy costs at the gas pump and on their electricity bills. In doing so, this bill will create thousands of good-paying union jobs and revitalize the U.S. manufacturing base. Senator Casey passed a provision to incentivize clean energy deployment and manufacturing in “energy communities,” areas whose economies and jobs are or were dependent on the coal, oil or natural gas energy sectors. Senator Casey’s tax credit will not only provide a bridge for energy workers and communities as we transition to a clean energy economy, but it prioritizes the workforce that is more than capable of being at the forefront of our Nation’s clean energy economy.
This bill invests in American-made energy and manufacturing. The IRA includes Senator Casey’s amendments that will require some clean energy projects to meet strict domestic content standards to receive tax credits. Further, all clean energy projects will receive a 10% bonus tax credit for meeting domestic content standards. Senator Casey’s provisions ensure that the U.S. is developing and manufacturing clean energy here at home.
The IRA also includes tax credits to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and critical minerals processing as well as a $7,500 credit for purchasing a new electric or hydrogen vehicle that was made in North America. These investments must be made with high wage and labor standards as well as domestic content and apprenticeship training requirements, ensuring that American workers and their families benefit from these provisions. The bill will grow a skilled workforce that provides good-paying union jobs as the clean energy industry grows. The IRA provides $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs, to electrify home appliances and for energy efficient retrofits, as well as 10 or more years of consumer tax credits to make homes energy efficient and make heat pumps, rooftop solar and electric HVAC more affordable.
Keeping Our Promise to Coal Miners
A permanent extension of Senator Casey’s Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Solvency Act is included in the IRA that would ensure that the trust fund stays permanently solvent so coal miners suffering from black lung disease and their families have reliable access to the quality medical care they need. By restoring the Black Lung excise tax, the Black Lung Trust Fund can continue to pay out benefits to former miners and their families. Without revenue from this tax, the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund faces insolvency at a time when the nationwide prevalence of black lung is increasing.
Conserving our Natural Resources
The IRA invests more than $20 billion to support climate-smart agricultural practices and $5 billion for forest resilience and conservation efforts. Pennsylvania farmers and foresters will be able to benefit from the significant infusion of funds for a slew of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) conservation programs, which Senator Casey has championed.
Reducing the Deficit and Creating Jobs
The Inflation Reduction Act raises $739 billion without raising any taxes on people making less than $400,000 per year. Just over a third of this revenue comes from savings on government spending on prescription drugs, while the rest will come from ensuring wealthy tax cheats and the biggest corporations pay their fair share of taxes. The IRA is estimated to create more than 9 million good jobs over the next decade—an average of nearly 1 million jobs each year.