November 26, 2022

Axne explains Inflation Reduction Act

“I can’t tell you how great this is for Iowa,” Rep. Cindy Axne said to the crowd at Hot Air Brewing last Thursday as a part of her connect with your congresswoman series.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Biden on Aug. 16, was the topic she spent a majority of the time explaining.

Axne broke the bill down into three components - prescription drug cost, climate change and International Revenue Service (IRS) audits.

Prescription drug cost

Axne said one of the most important thing the Inflation Reduction Act does is lower the cost of prescription drugs.

“It will finally allow this country to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs for folks on Medicare,” she said. “And it will reduce your cost by capping things like insulin at $35 a month, saving Iowans about $450 on average a year because we spend about $850. So this is gonna cut that about it half.”

The process to negotiate the cost of these medications will take several years to complete. The $35 insulin copay will begin in 2023 with the negotiation of the other medications beginning in 2026 and ending in 2029. The most expensive medications will be targeted first, Axne said.

“We can’t do this overnight,” she said. “We’ve got to negotiate this stuff, but the first thing we’re starting with is insulin because we know that it affects so many people’s lives.”

In 2025, the bill enforces a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket expenses on prescription drugs. “So this is great news because here in Iowa, our average is $3,000,” Axne said. “So automatically, another $1,000 back in your pocket just by capping that expense for those.”

Axne said she purchases her health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) like many of her constituents. “Expanding opportunity for folks to get affordable, quality healthcare through the ACA really does a lot of things for individuals, but it also solidifies a health care market in many ways and makes it more stable, and that’s a beneficial thing for everybody,” she said.

Climate change

When Axne began speaking on the climate change portions of the bill, the crowd responded positively. “We are making the largest investment in energy costs and addressing climate change which I know is so important to people here in Iowa,” she said before applause cut her off.

Like many Iowans, Axne said she can recall walking through 10-foot drifts and 105 degree heat. “Growing up here, I thought we knew every storm,” she said. “Then when (the derecho) went through, I’m like, what was that storm called? It was a new learning experience for most of us.”

Axne said climate change is putting one of Iowa’s key industries, farming, at risk. “We’re seeing far too many floods; we’re seeing far too many massive windstorms before spring; tornados at times of year we’ve never seen them before. We’ve got to be addressing climate change or else we will continue to see these and they’ll decimate our towns,” she said. “Our farmers know better than anybody what’s going to happen with those storms.”

One of the ways the bill helps families make their homes more eco-friendly is through tax rebates and household credits. “Families can save up to $200 on bills and cut emissions by 40%. That’s just going to come with the new pieces of regulation being put in place, but you also have an opportunity to save more money by going after some of the tax incentives that are out there,” Axne explained.

The upgrades qualifying for rebate include heat pumps, better windows, clean vehicles and residential solar installation. “If you’ve been wanting to replace your windows, now’s the time to do it. If you’ve been wanting to upgrade that heat pump, you’re going to get a rebate for that,” Axne said. “So this is going to put money right back into your pockets by ensuring your homes are as energy efficient as possible. Then you’re saving on those energy costs. So that’s an all-around, big win for Iowa.”

IRS audits

Axne said a lot of the information out there about the Inflation Reduction Act and the IRS changes aren’t true.

“What we do, is start holding corporations that don’t pay their taxes, like Hot Air Brewing does, that they start paying their taxes,” she said to a round of applause.

There are more than 60 corporations bringing in more than a billion dollars in profit each year who don’t pay taxes, Axne said. “How this is being paid for, we’re going to hold big corporations responsible,” she said. “Last time I checked, every single one of you pay your taxes. Unfortunately, you’ve got too many businesses that are not paying their fair share, and it’s time that they do that.”

Money from the Inflation Reduction Act is going to the hire of more IRS agents to begin the audit process on these corporations and individuals.

“The president and the secretary of treasury have made it perfectly clear, in writing, that the only increase in audits will be on those who make $400,000 or more. So if that’s you, I’m sorry, but it’s really not Iowa,” Axne said. “This is really just about getting $160 billion in the door from those bigger earners who don’t pay their taxes right now because they know that nobody’s going to come audit them. It’s about making sure that those who literally are doing the wrong thing start stepping up for their country.”

Axne received a question about the need for 87,000 new IRS agents.

“So that those folks who aren’t paying their taxes begin to pay their taxes,” she answered. “Those folks are the reason we are where we are right now. The crumbling roads and bridges and schools in need of support because they didn’t pay their fair share like you did as a good American, and that’s what they’re for.”

He continued to push back saying the government is too scared to go after people like Jeff Bezos, executive chairman of Amazon.

“I’m not afraid to get in anybody’s face whose not doing something right for this district,” Axne rebutted. “That includes this administration. I have stood up to President Biden, I have stood up to President Trump, I have stood up to party leaders. I have voted against my party because it was the right vote to take for Iowa. I have been named the most bipartisan member of the Iowa delegation now for three years in a row.”

Cheyenne Roche

CHEYENNE ROCHE

Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.