Members of Congress are back in their home states and districts for the remainder of the August recess after last week’s push to get the Democrats’ reconciliation bill, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, across the finish line. The new law, which President Joe Biden signed Aug. 16, marked a significant legislative win for Democrats and Biden, who worked for more than a year to get a “human infrastructure” funding bill passed.
In a recent Action Update, America’s Essential Hospitals detailed IRA provisions of note for essential hospitals, including those that:
- extend, through 2025, the Affordable Care Act advance premium tax credits to help low-income individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid afford health insurance;
- establish a Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program, which directs the secretary of health and human services to negotiate maximum fair prices for select drugs for the Medicare program, beginning with 10 drugs in 2026, up to 15 additional drugs in 2027 and 2028, and up to 20 additional drugs annually in 2029 and beyond;
- require drug manufacturers to pay a rebate to the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund for Part B and Part D drugs should they increase prices faster than inflation;
- cap the monthly cost of insulin furnished under Medicare Part D and remove deductibles and reduce coinsurance for insulin provided through durable medical equipment in Medicare Part B;
- establish a $2,000, out-of-pocket cap on payments under Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Part D (MA-PD) plans in 2025 and beyond;
- improve access to adult vaccines under Medicare and Medicaid; and
- expand eligibility for low-income subsidies under Part D of the Medicare Program from 135 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) to 150 percent, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
In other important changes, the bill includes targeted funding for combating climate change. Of specific interest to essential hospitals, the legislation would remove barriers for tax-exempt hospitals to obtaining credits for installing energy efficient systems as part of their hospital modernization efforts.
Both chambers of Congress will remain in a district work period through Sept. 5.
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