Opening Keynote: An update on federal health policy with HHS’ Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso


Alex Nelson, Hannah Saunders


Jeffrey Reynoso, DrPH, Director of Region 9 for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), spoke about federal health policy priorities—like lowering the cost of prescription drugs—during the Opening Keynote for the 2023 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference.

“We’re really focused on the effective implementation of the present Inflation Reduction Act. We like to say at HHS it should’ve been called, ‘The president’s new prescription drug law,’ because so much of what’s in the IRA, Inflation Reduction Act, is with regards to lowering costs—particularly in Medicare,” Reynoso said.

Stay one step ahead. Join our email list for the latest news.


Reynoso highlighted how insulin copayments have been capped at $35 per month for seniors on Medicare. 

“Preventative vaccines are now free—no copays under Medicare plans. This is particularly important for some of those vaccines, even those that have coverage—like shingles—they were several hundred dollars and now they’re free because they fall under a preventative vaccine, but we know that that’s not enough.”

— Reynoso

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is working to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with drug manufacturers, and Reynoso said a 2025 provision will create a $2,000 copayment cap on prescription drugs for seniors. 

Regarding behavioral health, Reynoso said federally qualified health centers—especially ones offering behavioral healthcare—have seen recent funding increases. He noted the national crisis 988 hotline, which recently launched a Spanish chat and text messaging feature. 

“Arizona in particular is a little bit ahead of the curve here with the connection point between the hotline to an actual crisis response—mobile crisis response team. Arizona is one of those models of crisis care, and I think it’s one of those models we need to uplift on a national level,” Reynoso said. 

Going forward, Reynoso said the agency will focus on youth mental health, and addressing the behavioral health crisis through a prevention lens. 

Leave a Comment