B’nai B’rith International welcomes Congressional passage of legislation that will ease the price of health care for older Americans. As the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income, nonsectarian housing for seniors in the United States, we are familiar with the economic challenges older adults confront relating to health care.
This legislation makes important improvements to Medicare that will result in health care being more affordable for seniors. For example, Medicare is allowed to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on the prices of certain drugs and Medicare recipients will now have their out-of-pocket prescription drug spending capped at $2,000 per year. These two changes should bring down the price seniors pay for prescription drugs.
Furthermore, Medicare recipients will now benefit from a $35 a month cap on insulin and no charge for all covered vaccines.
In addition, this legislation extends subsidies that make health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act more accessible for older Americans. According to the Urban Institute, extending these subsidies will ensure that the number of uninsured older adults (55 to 64) will not increase by more than 300,000 people.
In addition to substantial health care benefits, the milestone legislation will be the largest climate investment in United States history. According to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, the legislation will reduce U.S. carbon emissions by up to 40% by 2030. The legislation is also expected to lower the budget deficit by raising $700 billion in government revenue over 10 years.
While we wish the legislation provided resources for the Department of Housing and Urban Development senior housing program, we are pleased the health care provisions will make a positive impact in the lives of older Americans. We look forward to President Joe Biden quickly signing the legislation into law, which will provide much needed economic relief to older adults.