WISCONSIN — Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin for a virtual round table to discuss key priorities awaiting Congressional action. Wisconsin residents from across the state discussed their personal experiences navigating their own care and urged swift action to lower costs and improve health care.

Expanding access to quality, affordable health care has never been more critical. President Biden’s Build Back Better proposal includes driving down prescription drug prices, expanding Medicare benefits to include vision, dental, and hearing, closing the Medicaid coverage gap, and dramatically lowering the cost of health insurance for millions.

“When I first ran for the Senate in 2012, I heard from hundreds of Wisconsinites who couldn’t afford their prescription drugs. Every Congress, Senator Klobuchar and I have introduced the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, which would allow Medicare to negotiate the best price of prescription drugs,” said Sen. Baldwin. “For every other type of health care service, Medicare works to get lower prices for American seniors. But for prescription drugs – and only prescription drugs – Medicare is today prohibited by law from negotiating for the best deal for our seniors. We’re going to get rid of that limitation and give Medicare the power to lower prescription drug prices.”

AJ DePres from La Crosse shared that they require multiple prescription medications to ensure that they can remain employed and noted the difference between costly “name brand” drugs and less costly generics is not just in the price – but in the side effects that go along with them.

“It’s imperative that young adults have access to the medications they need to help us live a full and functional life so we can succeed in workplace and academic settings,” said DePres.

Stephanie Stein, a Milwaukee area retiree who previously served as the Director of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging, was thrilled to hear of Sen. Baldwin’s support for expanding Medicare to include vision, dental and hearing.

“The Covid pandemic has devastated older people in so many ways, with disproportionate death, isolation, and loss of family and friends. The Build Back Better plan of President Biden gives older people hope,” said Stein.

Connie Meyer, a retired librarian in Green Bay, had been greatly concerned about the subsidy cliff in the marketplace since she and her husband retired. Too young to qualify for Medicare, they purchase their health insurance coverage through the marketplace and were disappointed to learn that if they took part time jobs they would end up paying so much more for insurance that it did not make financial sense for their family.

“The subsidy cliff disincentivized us from working, which was very frustrating for me because I feel like I still have things to contribute, even though I was ready to retire,” said Meyer.

You can watch the event here, and learn more about how President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to lower health care costs and expand access to quality care for Wisconsinites here.

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