MADISON – As the first health care provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are being implemented this month, Wisconsin physicians are calling on Senator Ron Johnson to explain to voters during tonight’s debate why he opposed the legislation to help lower prescription drug costs. They also urged him to divulge whether he supports legislation introduced last week by Senate Republicans to repeal the IRA’s drug pricing control provisions.

“Doctors know all too well how important it is for our patients to be able to use their prescribed medications, so we’d like Senator Ron Johnson to explain why he voted against making prescription drugs more affordable for Medicare recipients,” said Dr. Ann Helms, a critical care neurologist in Milwaukee and Wisconsin State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care [video statement here]. “After decades of talk by federal leaders, Wisconsin physicians were thrilled to see Congress and the President finally take action to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Yet our own senator, Ron Johnson, refused to back this historic legislation. Our patients, and senior citizens across Wisconsin, deserve to hear Senator Johnson explain why he declined to help make their life-saving prescriptions more affordable for them.”

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, more than 29,000 Wisconsin Medicare Part D enrollees who had to pay over $2,000 in 2021 will have their out-of-pocket costs capped at $2,000. More than 58,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Wisconsin will have their insulin copays capped at $35 per month. Wisconsinites on Medicare generally will benefit from Medicare being allowed to negotiate the costs of certain prescription drugs.

“Debates are an opportunity for doctors and patients alike to hear from Senator Ron Johnson about how he plans to protect or restrict health care access,” said Dr. Robert Freedland, an ophthalmologist in La Crosse [video statement here]. “With Republicans in the Senate already working to repeal portions of the Inflation Reduction Act, we hope to hear whether Senator Johnson would be on board with their plan to prevent Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. If so, he should explain what he would do instead, if anything, to help ensure my patients on Medicare can afford the prescriptions they need to live healthy lives.”

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