Congress Votes to Pass Historic Health Bill that will Lower Premiums and Prescription Drug Costs for Californians

For immediate release: Friday, August 12, 2002


42 California Congressmembers voted with health care consumers in support of the Inflation Reduction Act

11 voted against the bill and their California constituents, and with PHRMA and for higher health costs

SACRAMENTO, CA/WASHINGTON D.C. – In a historic vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant advancement in addressing health care costs since the Affordable Care Act. The bill seeks to lower prescription drug prices by allowing the government to negotiate prices, while also capping out-of-pocket and insulin costs for millions in Medicare. It also prevents pricey premium spikes for 1.5 million enrollees in Covered California.

In a divided, party-line vote, all 42 California Democrats voted to pass the legislation, and all 11 California Republicans voted against it.

“We greatly appreciate the California Congressional members who stood with health care consumers and against Big Pharma and higher health costs. As a result of this vote, those in Covered California will be shielded from premiums price hikes, and those on Medicare will have their prescription drug costs capped. Hundreds of thousands of Californians in Medicare, and over a million in Covered California, will directly benefit,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.

“We are very disappointed that some California Congressmembers voted in lockstep with their party and with the prescription drug companies, and in doing so voted to raise health care costs on their own constituents. Californians are already dealing with a high cost of living so it’s puzzling why Congressmembers would vote against prescription drug price reform, or to double the premiums of tens of thousands of their own constituents. This vote was a big what-side-are-you-on moment for many Congressmembers, one that should be remembered by voters going forward.”

In California, some of the impacts include:

  • 114,775 Medicare Part D enrollees in California who experienced out-of-pocket costs over $2,000 in 2021 will now have their prescription drugs capped at $2,000 per year.
  • Over 5 million Californians on Medicare will be protected from Big Pharma’s arbitrary price hikes that raise drug prices faster than inflation.
  • 332,770 Californians on Medicare will have insulin copays capped $35 per month.
  • 1,599,264 Californians will save on monthly health insurance premiums.

Health Access recently broke down additional impacts by state, county, regional, and Congressional districts.  Those that voted against the bill represent some of the most impacted constituents in the state, such as the Central Valley.

“When President Biden signs this landmark legislation, it will be just in time to ensure that those signing up for Covered California during this fall’s open enrollment won’t see premium spikes of thousands of dollars per year. It will also allow California to take extra steps to lower cost-sharing and potentially eliminate deductibles for some plans,” said Wright. “The impact of this legislation will be felt for years to come, as Medicare gains more ability to negotiate down the cost of prescription drugs, and more people get health care coverage as a result of lower premiums.”