U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor visited Tampa’s St. Joseph’s Hospital Thursday to talk about the impact the new Inflation Reduction Act will have on lowering health care costs.
The Inflation Reduction Act, signed by President Joe Biden earlier this month, will extend key Affordable Care Act subsidies through the end of 2025, Castor said.
The measure will lower the cost of prescription drugs for older individuals on Medicare, as well as cap the price of drug costs at $2,000 for those on Medicare Part D. The new law will also cap the price of insulin for Medicare seniors at $35 per month.
“Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, health care coverage has never been more affordable,” Castor said. “We are fortunate to live in a community where we look out for each other and we take care of each other, and that includes making sure that health care coverage is affordable.”
Castor also highlighted the extension of the tax credits originally set to expire at the end of this year. The health insurance subsidies mean reduced monthly premium expenses will continue through 2025. The law will save Floridians an average of about $590 per year, and expand coverage to roughly 543,000 more Floridians.
“Here’s the kicker for Florida families and families across the Tampa Bay area — we continue those life-saving tax credits that make health care coverage affordable. The tax credits now are estimated to save Florida families over $500 on their health care coverage,” Castor said.
Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids & Families at the University of South Florida, joined Castor to talk about the firsthand impacts she’s seen from the new provisions.
“We’ve seen the difference that the enhanced tax credits have made,” she said. “We’ve had folks come in who were diabetic and couldn’t afford health coverage, but because of the changes over the past two years we were able to get individuals like that covered, so they could not only get the treatment they needed and continue that treatment, but the supplies that go with that.”
Castor also spotlighted the Hillsborough County Health Care Program, which provides low-cost insurance to those who can’t afford traditional medical insurance. The program connects clients with 13 local hospitals and over 30 primary and urgent care clinics, as well as up to 2,500 to 3,000 specialty physicians. It’s supplemented by a half-cent sales tax and has been in operation since 1991. The program serves about 20,000 members annually.
“We were going to take care of you. If you have any health condition, if you have an emergency in your family, the Hillsborough health care plan is there to make sure that you don’t go into debt, that you don’t go into bankruptcy simply because you have a cancer diagnosis or a diabetes diagnosis,” Castor said.