LANSING, Mich. — Last week, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin came to Lansing to talk about the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Joe Biden last month. Because Slotkin is running against Republican candidate and state Sen. Tom Barrett to represent Michigan's 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House, FOX 47 News reached out to Barrett and his campaign to get his perspective on this act.
"While the democrats are calling this the Inflation Reduction Act, no actual credible evidence is there that this is going to lead to any reduction in inflation whatsoever," Barrett said.
But before we get into the many ways in which the two candidates disagree when it comes to this act, let's start from a place of common ground. Both Slotkin and Barrett think that prescription drugs need to remain affordable, and one way to do that is by allowing generic versions of name-brand drugs, like Insulin, to come to market.
"I think we need a faster path into the generic programs so that people have more access to them," Barrett said.
"Just finally allow a generic alternative to come to market," Slotkin said in her round table last week. "These name-brand drugs do not allow generics to come to market."
This is where the two start to differ. Slotkin thinks allowing Medicare to negotiate prices and cap the cost of insulin to $35 a month would keep prescription prices low while putting pressure on large corporations to allow generic versions of their drugs to to come to market.
Barrett doesn't think that's the solution to our country's complex conundrum.
"You know, I'm very sympathetic to the fact that people are finding it increasingly harder to afford the basic necessities and basic life-saving prescriptions that they need, however, when you set in place price-fixing and price controls, what ends up happening over time is that we have less and less innovations in the research and development of life-saving drugs," Barrett said.
Slotkin begs to differ.
"I just want to set the record straight," Slotkin said last week. "The vast majority of the drug companies right now are spending more on TV commercials than they are on research and development."
"I don't know what drug companies spend on advertising," Barrett said. "I think if we get drugs approved for generic use, then that satisfies a lot of the concerns about what's being charged and everything else, but then I know that these pharmacy benefit managers that stand in the middle of the manufacturers, the insurers and the patients end up taking out a lot of resources that could go into making these far more affordable. So, again, when you just make one government solution to the problem, oftentimes you are overlooking other problems in that path as well."
According to Salary.com, the average annual income of a pharmacy benefit manager is $88,465.
Barrett also believes that this act is causing the nation to wastefully spend hundreds of millions of dollars.
"You're seeing millions of dollars spent to hire more IRS agents—87,000 more IRS agents are going to be hired," Barrett said.
Now for the—pardon the pun—elephant in the room: Will our taxes increase with this new act?
"You hear rumors that everyone is going to be taxed," Slotkin told the crowd last week. "There is not one individual who is going to be taxed by this bill. It's the companies that make a billion dollars a year or more—about 150 companies."
"What the Democrats will try to tell you is that only the uber wealthy are going to be paying higher taxes, but when they layer on top of that all the taxes and penalties that are going into mainstream sources of energy and things like that, you see that everyday Americans are actually going to be spending more for each of the basic things that we need," Barrett said.
Slotkin and Barrett will go head-to-head for Michigan's 7th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Stay with FOX 47 News as we continue to cover this race.
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