Inflation Reduction Act Provides 10 Million Medicare Recipients Free Vaccines

By Dennis Archambault

Legislation, particularly so-called “omnibus” laws, are convoluted and difficult for average people to understand. Most of the publicity surrounding the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was about the political wrangling. But this legislation contained several programs that helped the country adjust to the economic pressures created by the coronavirus pandemic. For a summary of the law, visit

The law is one of the most consequential health care laws since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, and the most significant improvement in the Medicare program since the passage of Medicare Part D in 2003. On May 3, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that 10 million Medicare Part D recipients received vaccines at no cost in 2023 as a result of the law. The law also caps the cost of insulin at $35 for seniors, and allows Medicare, for the first time, to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers to lower the price of some of the costliest drugs, making them more affordable to the lower income population.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released draft guidance for public comment on the second cycle of negotiations under the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program. The negotiations on the first set of 10 prescription drugs are underway. The second cycle of negotiations will include up to 15 additional drugs selected for negotiation, increasing access to innovative, life-saving treatments for people with Medicare and lowering costs for Medicare. CMS will announce up to 15 additional drugs selected for potential negotiation for 2027 by February 1, 2025. This second round of negotiations will occur during 2025, and any negotiated maximum fair prices will be effective for this second set of drugs starting January 1, 2027.

CMS will accept comments through July 2. For more information, visit:

It’s important to get beyond the smokescreen of political rhetoric to how laws affect populations, particularly vulnerable populations that need vaccines and costly drugs.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.


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