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With Congress set to pass massive climate and health care bill, Conn. officials look to local impacts

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 7: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
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The Washington Post
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 7, 2022. The House is expected to vote on the act this week.

The House is expected to vote on the massive climate and health care bill passed by the Senate as soon as Friday. In Hartford on Thursday, state officials touted the bill’s possible effects for health care consumers.

Deidre Gifford, the state’s commissioner of the Department of Social Services, said the plan allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices. It also provides for a $2,000 cap on drugs for Medicare recipients in the state.

“So up until this time there were about 19,000 people on Medicare who were spending more than $2,000 out of pocket for their prescription drugs,” Gifford said. “And that will be capped starting in 2025.”

Gifford said the bill will also extend for three years enhanced health care premium subsidies for people on the state’s health care exchange, known as Access Health CT. The original enhanced subsidies were part of the earlier American Rescue Plan Act, known as ARPA.

“We have 104,000 people enrolled through Access Health CT right now,” Gifford said. “There’s an estimate that maybe 24,000 of them would have remained uninsured without these ARPA subsidies, which are now going to continue.”

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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