On the Road Again: The ‘Better Care, Lower Costs’ Bus Tour Talks Up the Legacy of the Inflation Reduction Act

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin (right) and La Crosse area residents spelled out the challenge health care costs pose for their families during the "Care Force One" bus tour produced by the healthcare advocacy group Protect Our Care on August 9, 2023. (Contributed photo)

By Joe Zepecki

September 13, 2023

“Protect Our Care,” an advocacy group formed to support the Affordable Care Act, recently held events marking the one-year anniversary of the health benefits contained in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act—the most consequential health care legislation in America since passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) more than a decade ago. Health care advocates, patients, and elected supporters of the bill from across Wisconsin joined together to herald the success of the law as Protect Our Care’s “Care Force One” traversed the state.

At stops in La Crosse and Green Bay as part of the ‘Better Care, Lower Costs’ national bus tour, events focused on the myriad ways the Inflation Reduction Act is lowering health care costs for millions of Americans.The law lowers health care premiums for people who buy their own coverage by $2,400 on average, caps insulin costs for people on Medicare, and penalizes big drug companies for egregious price hikes, which is already helping Wisconsinites. 

Under other provisions of the law, seniors’ drug costs will soon be capped at $2,000 annually, and Medicare is finally able to negotiate for lower drug prices using its bulk purchasing power—just like you and I do when we shop at Sam’s Club or Costco. Just this month, the Biden administration announced the ten drugs that have been selected for the first round of price negotiations.

In La Crosse, two area residents spelled out the challenge health care costs pose for their families.

Sue Schultz, who requires more than a dozen medications to stay healthy, said that, “By working to reduce the costs for insurance and drugs by the current administration, my financial life has been made easier.”

Amy Taebel, a Type 1 diabetic who requires daily insulin injections, noted that her out of pocket costs for prescriptions and supplies is around $500. “That $500 adds up very quickly,” said Taebel. “I am so thankful for Sen. Tammy Baldwin and other senators for fighting [for us].” 

Baldwin, a long-time champion of health care reform, noted how proud she was to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act “to finally provide some relief for Wisconsin families and hold big drug companies accountable for prioritizing profits over people.”

In Green Bay, advocates and speakers heralded the Inflation Reduction Act’s health care measures—while pledging to do more.

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Gov. Tony Evers (second from left) and Green Bay area residents spelled out the challenge health care costs pose for their families during the “Care Force One” bus tour produced by the healthcare advocacy group Protect Our Care on August 10, 2023. (Contributed photo)

Gov. Tony Evers again urged Republican legislators to do the right thing and join the 40 other states across the country that have expanded their state Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. 

“Expanding BadgerCare (the name for Medicaid in Wisconsin) would provide healthcare coverage to nearly 90,000 Wisconsinites—including about 30,000 who are currently uninsured—improve health outcomes, and draw down more than $2 billion in federal funds, saving our state more than $1.6 billion over the biennium,” said Evers. “That’s a win-win for our people and our state. It defies logic that Republican lawmakers continue to refuse this commonsense action that would help hardworking Wisconsinites get the care they need.”

Sarah, a northeast Wisconsin senior who spoke at the event, noted that the $2,000/year cap on out-of -pocket prescription drug costs would save her nearly $4,000 annually, “I cannot express the relief I will feel when that is capped at $2000.00 a year,” said Conklin.

Those are just a few of the moving, remarkable stories about how health care decisions made in Washington, DC are impacting families right here in Wisconsin in profound ways. 

Unfortunately, there was not a single Republican vote for this progress in Congress. Not one. In either house. Now, big drug companies and those same Republicans appear intent on unwinding the progress that has been made—which makes sharing these stories more important than ever.

If you or someone you love is benefitting from the Inflation Reduction Act, say so. Show your neighbors and your community that this isn’t “just politics.” This is about people’s lives and well being—and President Biden and the Democrats are making a difference.


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