Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
August 12, 2022
Contact Info: 
Raymond Rodriguez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06) joined Protect Our Care for a virtual press conference highlighting the health care provisions in the landmark Inflation Reduction Act that will lower health care premiums and prescription drug costs for the American people. Below is a transcript of his opening remarks:

“Thank you very much for those comments and exposition of what this legislation will do in the short term and the long term, but also for the extraordinary work that Protect Our Care has been doing to make sure that every American has the confidence that they have the availability of affordable, quality health care. I am very pleased to join my colleague, [Majority Whip] Jim Clyburn. He and I have been working together for a half a century for the people. Jim Clyburn, of course, has been one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement in our country. He and I wrote an editorial just a few months ago, just a few weeks ago really, about protecting our care.

“This bill reflects much of what we wanted to see – not everything we wanted to see - let me be clear on that, but it is a very significant step forward. I’m glad to join Protect Our Care again today to speak about all we have accomplished for the American people in this landmark bill. Democrats know that America’s strength and success depends on the health of its people. That’s why we have made it our mission to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care as I said.

Since President Biden took office, 5.2 million Americans have gained health coverage and our nation has reached a record low uninsured rate of just 8%. In fact, Mr. Clyburn has been a leader, and I’ve been a big supporter, of making sure that we extended Medicaid to the 12 states that did not do that. If we did that, we essentially would be at full insurance in America. That’s what we really need to be but this, as I said, is a great step forward.

“We owe this progress in part to the American Rescue Plan that we passed last year. It enhanced subsidies and advanced expanded eligibility, reduced premiums, and lowered health care costs for tens of millions of Americans. This success is why we have fought together to extend these important updates to the ACA. As I said, we wrote an
op-ed in The Hill just some weeks ago. Earlier this year, we wrote an editorial about the fact that we absolutely had to extend the American Rescue Plan. We wanted to extend it permanently, but this is for two years. That’s a step in the right direction.

“I’m also proud that the Inflation Reduction Act, which I will bring to the Floor today [and that] we’ll send to President Biden’s desk later on this afternoon, will extend these enhanced subsidies and advance premium tax credits for another three years until 2025, continuing to bring down health care costs for Americans and hopefully continue to bring down the number of uninsured Americans. We have work to do, as I said, with respect to Medicaid, but this is a very, very important step. Additionally, one of the main drivers behind the cost of insurance, as Leslie, you pointed out, is the high cost of prescription drugs. This bill deals with that and will bring costs down, which are a large part of inflation, bring costs down for the American people.

“As a result of this legislation, Medicare will finally have the tools and authority to negotiate with manufacturers to lower the prices of certain high-cost prescription drugs for the first time ever. I want to emphasize the Veterans Administration already does this. It’s not a radical departure. It is doing what the Veterans Administration does and saves money doing and the CBO indicates that we will save billions of dollars through this action. Additionally, Leslie, as you pointed out, this bill places a $35 per month out
-of-pocket cap on the price of insulin for those on Medicare, ensuring that seniors with diabetes who rely on insulin will not have to ration their doses or worry about affording this life-saving medication.

“Unfortunately, the extension of that to private sector insurance was deleted by [Republicans in] the United States Senate, but this legislation is the biggest health care victory for the American people since the Affordable Care Act more than a decade ago. It will reduce the deficit, lower costs, and expand access to affordable health care, all while making the biggest investment in history to address the global climate crisis. We must go even further to protect our care, however, and we will continue to work on that, putting people over politics.

“Democrats will keep fighting to make these tax credits for health care premiums permanent, extended to 2025, but we want to make them permanent. We will keep pushing to cap the cost of insulin, not only for Medicare beneficiaries, but for all who need it, including those with private insurance. We will keep working to close the coverage gap for those states that continue to leave 2.2 million [out] – Jim Clyburn’s been the leader on that, thank you very much for that, Jim, I know you’ll speak about that - 2.2 million Americans who are now uninsured by [Republicans] choosing not to expand Medicaid.

I look forward, Leslie, to working with you and Protect Our Care on these issues just as we worked together to secure today’s victory. Now, I am very pleased to yield to my friend, the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.”