By Emily Piper
This week in Washington, D.C. the United States Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act along party lines with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote to move the measure a step closer to becoming law. While the broad climate and health bill’s promise to curb rising inflation is the subject of ongoing debate, its investments in green energy and health care are being touted as a major win for President Biden’s agenda.
The bill’s energy and climate provisions invest over $300 billion in energy reform. Healthcare provisions focus primarily on lowering the costs of prescription drugs, in part by allowing the Medicare program to negotiate certain drug prices, and through extending federal subsidies for people buying health insurance on the individual market to avoid premium hikes for those buying insurance through the federal and state insurance exchanges.
This is a big win for people with behavioral health conditions, as evaluations continue to show that the public policies established by the Affordable Care Act’s extension of parity to those who are insured through the individual market have supported better access to behavioral healthcare through coverage and affordability measures like these subsidies.
More work clearly needs to be done, but maintaining affordability in insurance coverage for those who historically went uninsured due to the high cost of buying their own insurance is key to more Americans accessing addiction treatment, mental health and other healthcare services.