House passes bill extending ACA subsidies, allowing Medicare drug price negotiations

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The House of Representatives on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act, extending boosted Affordable Care Act subsidies and giving the federal government a new power to negotiate drug prices.

The bill, which passed on party lines in a 220-207 vote, will now head to President Joe Biden’s desk. He is expected to sign it into law this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the bill “historic and transformative” in a news conference held before the House vote.

The over $700 billion bill looked dead on the Senate floor until Democrats announced in late July they had successfully negotiated with Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va. The monthslong negotiations came to fruition in early August when the bill passed the Senate in a tied vote broken by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Inflation Reduction Act extends enhanced ACA subsidies originally granted by the American Rescue Plan into 2025, protecting millions of Americans from an anticipated premium hike at the end of the year.

It also allows Medicare to start negotiating the price of some prescription drug prices beginning in 2026 and caps Medicare Part-D out-of-pocket costs in 2025. In a move to further reduce drug prices, the bill also imposes penalizing rebates on pharmaceutical manufacturers who hike drug costs above the rate of inflation starting in 2023.

Although Senate Republicans removed a provision that would instill a $35 cap on insulin for Americans with private insurance, the bill includes a $35 cap on insulin for patients with Medicare.

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