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Sen. Peter Welch to tackle the Inflation Reduction Act on first day

Jan 10, 2023

RUTLAND, Vt. — Peter Welch made his first public appearance in Vermont as the state’s newest U.S. senator Monday afternoon in Rutland.

He was joined by Xavier Becerra, the United States secretary of Health and Human Services, while celebrating provisions in the pricing of prescription drugs from the Inflation Reduction Act.

The U.S. has been notorious for having the highest prescription drug costs in the world.

“It’s because the federal government has never been there for consumers against price gauging,” said Sen. Welch.

However, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there is now a limit on how much Medicare users pay for insulin copays each month.

“That cap is $35 a month,” said Welch. “In many cases, folks were paying hundreds of dollars a month for insulin. “

Dave Dransfield, an insulin user, said he knows that extra cash in his pocket will have a major impact.

“If you’re on a fixed income, that can create a huge problem whether you’re going to eat that week or pay that food bill with the winter coming up,” said Dransfield. “It makes a big difference.”

Another major change is allowing those at the top to negotiate lower prices for certain drugs.

“We were restricted by law to get the best price for 65 million Americans,” said Becerra. “That’s gone.“

Becerra said the Health and Human Services Department is discussing new prices for ten of the most expensive drugs. He says those will be announced to the public later this year.

He believes those discounted prices will be in effect by 2026.

“All of this will fall in place,” said Becerra. “That’s because of the Inflation Reduction Act.”

Welch, who was sworn in on Jan. 3 and replaced long-time senator Patrick Leahy, said he’s excited to start off his tenure this way.

“I’m thrilled that this is my first act as Vermont’s U.S. senator,” he said. “Big shoes to fill — no one is going to fulfill the heart and soul that Patrick Leahy left. But my job is to carry on the tradition of service.”

Story Written by Tyler Boronski, NBC5

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