Wednesday, Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen discussed the United States Senate’s recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill deals with climate change provisions, and lowering prescription drug prices for seniors. It also extends Affordable Care Act premium savings, and works to ensure big corporations are paying their taxes.
Energy and the Environment
The lawmakers say with the bill’s energy and environment provisions, certain Marylanders can expect to see $170 to $220 a year in savings on their energy bills. This is due in part to funds to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. “It will provide them rebates to do that. That will also save them a lot of money down the road on their heating bills, and on their cooling bills,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
Funding is also included for conservation and stewardship, climate adaptation, environmental justice, and neighborhood access and equity grants. “Hundreds of millions of dollars in these programs will now flow to Maryland. They will both protect the Bay, and address greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
Sen. Van Hollen also says a $20 billion greenhouse reduction fund will help pay for a clean energy accelerator (CEA). CEAs help bring organizations and entities together to start up clean energy efforts. Maryland’s only current CEA is in Montgomery County, according to the Senator. “This will help stand up our leverage on a national level, getting that multiplier effect. When a public dollar goes in, we expect a five to eight time multiplier,” he said.
Sen. Cardin says extending Affordable Care Act (AFC) premium savings for three more years could end up saving Maryland a couple hundred thousand dollars per year. He says with 1 million Marylanders qualifying for Medicare, this and other provisions will provide Marylanders more help with paying for out of pocket drug costs, and saving on insulin.
“We have 50,000 Marylanders alone on Medicare that have diabetes that are on insulin. Just that number alone gives you a dimension on the type of savings that Marylanders will be able to enjoy,” said Sen. Cardin.
Sen. Cardin estimates that extending the AFC premium savings will help about 153,000 Marylanders. Individually, Marylanders could save about $80 per month. “153,000 Marylanders would either see their subsidies go to zero or be substantially cut back. But, overall, 153,000 Marylanders will benefit from the extension of the premium support,” said Sen. Van Hollen.
The senators say with all those provisions combined, Marylanders can expect an effective tool to battle record inflation. “When we’re helping people with their health care costs, when we help families deal with their energy costs, that’s going to help us in dealing with inflation. So, that’s a positive sign, in regards to the spending side of the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Sen. Cardin.
Sen. Cardin says with multiple factors playing into record-high inflation, the bill is a step in the right direction.
“Obviously, these are tough times. We know that. Inflation is here not because of any policies of the Biden Administration,” he said. “We think that the bill itself is a positive step forward in dealing with the realities that are caused by energy issues, the war in Ukraine, dealing with supply chain challenges, and dealing with COVID-19.”