Wisconsin seniors would pay more for prescription drugs under Project 2025

Wisconsin seniors would pay more for prescription drugs under Project 2025

Kristen Eichamer, right, talks to a fairgoer at the Project 2025 tent at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. With more than a year to go before the 2024 election, a constellation of conservative organizations is preparing for a possible second White House term for Donald Trump. The Project 2025 effort is being led by the Heritage Foundation think tank. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By Isabel Soisson

July 9, 2024

Project 2025 calls for repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, which would cause millions of American seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs.

Over the past two years, seniors on Medicare have benefited from reductions in drug costs due to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with more on the way next year.

But if Donald Trump wins the November election and implements Project 2025, a conservative blueprint for a second Trump term, as many as 18.5 million Medicare enrollees could be forced to pay higher costs for their medications, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.  

How the Inflation Reduction Act saves seniors money

The Inflation Reduction Act reformed Medicare to lower drug costs for millions of American seniors with Medicare Part D coverage, which covers prescription drugs. 

Beginning last year, the law implemented a $35 monthly cap on insulin for seniors on Medicare.

As a result, nearly 32,000 Wisconsin seniors on Medicare who use insulin are now saving an average of $628 per year on their prescription.

The Inflation Reduction Act also made vaccines covered under Medicare Part D free and allowed enrollees to spread out their total annual Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs over the course of the year, allowing them to better afford their health care costs. 

The law has also expanded access to federal subsidies to help low-income American seniors cover their healthcare costs, providing support worth an estimated $5,900 per year, according to the Social Security Administration

In 2025, another key provision will go into effect, capping Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs to $2,000 per year. It’s estimated that this new cap will save seniors who take expensive drugs for conditions like cancer thousands of dollars each year.

These policies, however, are now under threat. 

The threat of Project 2025

Project 2025—a 900-page plan put together by the Trump-aligned, right-wing Heritage Foundation—calls for repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, which would cause millions of Medicare enrollees to pay more out-of-pocket for their prescription drugs.

In Wisconsin, an estimated 31,000 Medicare Part D enrollees could pay more for their prescription drugs without the Inflation Reduction Act’s $2,000 annual out-of-pocket cap. An even higher number of Wisconsin seniors and others on Medicare—300,000 people—would pay an average of $475 more per year out of pocket for their medications if all of the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare drug provisions were repealed. 

Furthermore, repealing the Inflation Reduction Act would end the law’s Medicare drug price negotiation provision. 

The law authorized Medicare to negotiate prices for expensive drugs with pharmaceutical companies for the first time. The first set of negotiations kicked off earlier this year, despite legal challenges from pharmaceutical companies. These negotiations have the potential to lower the prices Medicare pays for select drugs, which would translate to significant savings for enrollees.

The provision will significantly lower out-of-pocket drug costs for many of the nearly 1 million Wisconsin seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D coverage.

“Project 2025 treats seniors’ access to affordable drugs as collateral damage,” the Center for American Progress states. “This dangerous agenda prioritizes Big Pharma’s bottom line at the expense of millions of Medicare Part D enrollees who, if Project 2025 is enacted, may once again have to pay more out-of-pocket for the medications they need, impeding both access and affordability.”


  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

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