WEST ALLIS -- How will the Inflation Reduction Act help Wisconsinites?
One aspect of the law promises to lower health care costs for those on medicare. Medicare is federal health insurance for Americans who are 65 years old or older.
We spoke to seniors already on a tight budget, who were in line at a monthly food distribution event for seniors in West Allis on Tuesday. We looked at how lowering prescription drug costs for those who use medicare could help them.
The relief may not be as immediate as the boxes of free groceries they received Tuesday afternoon. Inflation has hit some seniors hard. Hunger Task Force workers are hearing from some faced with difficult decisions like this, "Should I pay for my prescription medication or should I eat?" said Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force Director.
We spoke to 76-year-old Dennis Kopp who says he is on a fixed budget and relies on medicare to pay for his prescription drugs.
"I take 10 pills in the morning, and I take six pills at night," Kopp shared.
His out-of-pocket cost of each drug has grown.
"Too much," Kopp said. "One pill, they wanted $2,700 for three months, and I just can't do that. I didn't take it. I can't afford it."
The White House fact sheet about this new law promises to cap a medicare patient's out-of-pocket cost for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year.
But which drugs will be negotiated at a lower cost? So far, the only one the White House has specifically mentioned is insulin, saying it will be capped at $35 a month for medicare patients. As the other drug prices are being negotiated, Kopp and other seniors in the Hunger Task Force line for free groceries still have bills to pay.
"You look at meat its $8, $9 for a pound of hamburger. It's ridiculous," said 77-year-old Carol Graham.
Jim Howard, 75, said, "How do you make it on $1,200, $1,300 a month?"
Kopp added, "Gas prices are ridiculous, the food is outrageous."
Hunger Task Force director Sherrie Tussler says the line at the monthly food distribution event for seniors in West Allis has grown from about 75 cars when the pandemic began to more than 300 each month.
"So they heard from one another, you should come get some good food, Hunger Task Force will help you," Tussler said.
Everyone's story is different. At the end of the day, it may take not just politicians and organizations, but our entire community to rebound from this inflation.
According to the White House fact sheet, the law will also help lower health care costs, "For union members or family members who benefit from the Affordable Care Act."
Visit the White House's website to learn more about all that is included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Visit the Hunger Task Force's website to learn how you can donate to support the Hunger Task Force's efforts.