U.S. Senate passes $750bn health care, climate bill

U.S. Senate passes Democrats' sweeping health care, climate bill

 

The United States Senate has passed Democrats’ $750 billion health-care, tax, and climate bill, in a significant victory for President Joe Biden and his party.

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The final, party-line vote was 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. The package is the product of painstaking negotiations, and its final passage would give Democrats a chance to achieve major policy objectives ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

The Democrat-controlled House, which is expected to take up the legislation on Friday, August 12, must approve the bill before President Biden can sign it into law.

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The sweeping bill-named the Inflation Reduction Act — would represent the largest climate investment in US history and make major changes to health policy by giving Medicare the power for the first time.

The nearly $370 billion clean energy and climate package is the largest climate investment in US history, and the biggest victory for the environmental movement since the landmark Clean Air Act.

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The bill also contains many tax incentives meant to bring down the cost of electricity with more renewables, and spur more American consumers to switch to electricity to power their homes and vehicles.

The legislation would reduce the deficit, be paid for through new taxes and boost the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to collect.

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It would raise over $700 billion in government revenue over 10 years and spend over $430 billion to reduce carbon emissions and extend subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and use the rest of the new revenue to reduce the deficit.

The bill would empower Medicare to negotiate prices of certain costly medications administered in doctors’ offices or purchased at the pharmacy. The Health and Human Services secretary would negotiate the prices of 10 drugs in 2026, and another 15 drugs in 2027 and again in 2028. The number would rise to 20 drugs a year for 2029 and beyond.

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