- The Senate has passed a long-awaited $740 billion bill that is designed to lower the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance.
- Through the legislation, now called the Inflation Reduction Act, the government will try to lower healthcare costs through changes such as capping the price of insulin for Medicare patients at $35.
- While Republicans successfully challenged a planned $35 insulin price ceiling for patients on private insurance, the law still has implications for makers of diabetes devices.
The legislation is smaller than the $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act on which it is based. That act passed the House in November but then got stuck in the Senate. To clear the logjam, legislators rebranded and slimmed down the law, enabling them to drum up enough support to secure a tied vote in the Senate on Sunday. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote in favor of the legislation.
While lawmakers dropped some proposals to get the legislation over the line, the final document still covers areas including climate change, corporate taxes, healthcare costs and the government deficit. On the healthcare side, the law will give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and cap out-of-pocket spending by seniors on prescription drugs at $2,000 a year. The $35 insulin price cap was limited to Medicare patients.
The draft version of the legislation read in the Senate earlier this month contains multiple references to medical devices and diagnostics, including the provision of funding to prepare for, and respond to, public health emergencies. Creation of domestic manufacturing capacity for diagnostics and medical devices is among the activities covered by the spending plan.
Another section of the draft covers investment in maternal health clinical tools that increase diagnostic accuracy. The investment is part of a broader plan to promote equity in maternal health outcomes using digital tools.