Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed legislation that will cap insulin costs at $35 used by diabetic Americans.
In a 232-193 vote, the House approved the measure, which needed support from a dozen Republicans to secure the votes.
Affordable Insulin Now Act to Cut Insulin Costs
Lawmakers passed the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which limits cost-sharing under private insurance of the drug to $35 a month.
Recipients can also opt to co-pay 25% of a plan’s negotiated price if it turns out lower than $35. The AINA is set to take effect in 2023 if the Senate passes its counterpart bill.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden will likely sign the bill into law once it hurdles the Senate. He earlier urged Congress to pass legislation cutting prescription drug prices during his March 1 State of the Union address.
He said Congress can cap the cost of co-pays for medicine to help millions of American families pay for medical costs. “Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it. Drug companies will still do very well,” he added.
Insulin and Other Drugs Becoming a Financial Burden
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects 37.3 million Americans.
Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI), said that the rising insulin costs, as well as other prescription drugs, are becoming a financial burden.
He himself is a father to a Type 1 diabetic. “I have seen firsthand how the high price of prescription drugs like insulin can harm patients and harm families.”
Kildee is one of AINA’s sponsors. He added that when his daughter got her own health insurance, she faced mounting bills for her medicine. “There were months where she spent a third of her take home pay — because she’s diabetic — on staying alive.”
Republicans Oppose Measure, Says It Will Worsen Inflation
However, the majority of House Republicans opposed the Affordable Insulin Now Act. They said that the measure doesn’t adequately address rising prescription drug prices. In addition, capping the copay for insulin costs would raise premiums and worsen inflation.
Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) explained her stand on the House floor Thursday. “This bill is an exemplar of the fact that they want the government to control our lives in every way they possibly can,” she said. The AINA is “a massive power grab that will lead our country one step closer to socialized medicine.”
The Healthcare Industry Also Opposes The AINA
In addition, the healthcare industry also expressed its opposition to the Affordable Insulin Now Act. AHIP (formerly America’s Health Insurance Plans) is a healthcare political advocacy and trade association that criticized the measure.
In a statement, the group said that the bill doesn’t actually lower insulin costs. Instead, it “simply shifts costs to others through higher insurance premiums and copays,” AHIP said.
Now, the Affordable Insulin Now Act will have to survive a split Senate before it can reach the desk of President Biden. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA), introduced a similar bill in February.
In an ominous sign, nobody from the Republican side offered to co-sponsor the bill that lowers copay for insulin costs. In order to receive approval, at least ten Republican senators must vote Yes to the bill’s approval.
Watch the Fox 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul News video reporting that Insulin cost cap bill sponsored by Rep. Angie Craig passed by US House:
Do you support the Affordable Insulin Now Act? Also, will it help provide relief to millions of Americans suffering from diabetes? Or, will this just pass the cost around which won’t mean anything?
Let us know what you think. Share your comments below.