Nearly 200 House Republicans Voted ‘No’ To Lowering The Cost Of Insulin, But Thankfully The Bill Passed Anyway

On Thursday, diabetics across the country breathed a sigh of relief when the Affordable Insulin Now Act—legislation that would lower the maximum insurance co-pay of insulin to no more than $35 per month—passed the House. The final vote, according to NBC News, was a surprisingly close 232-193. What might be less surprising is that the 193 votes against lowering the cost of a drug that could save the lives of countless people, and improve the lives of millions more, all came from Republican voters. (Only 12 Republicans voted in support of the legislation.)

The way Democrats see it, the Affordable Insulin Now Act is all about saving lives. As NBC reported, Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee, one of the bill’s sponsors, told his fellow congresspeople from the House floor ahead of the vote: “As a father of a Type 1 diabetic, I have seen firsthand how the high price of prescription drugs like insulin can harm patients and harm families. When my daughter turned 26 and got her own health insurance, there were months where she spent a third of her take-home pay—because she’s diabetic—on staying alive.”

For Republicans, the matter is not so cut-and-dry. While the bill would reduce the out-of-pocket costs for the millions of insulin-dependent diabetics across the country, those savings would need to come out of someone else’s pocket.

“This bill is an exemplar of the fact that [Democrats] want the government to control our lives in every way they possibly can,” North Carolina congresswoman Virginia Foxx said, calling the plan “a massive power grab that will lead our country one step closer to socialized medicine.”

Insurance companies are also against it. AHIP (formerly known as America’s Health Insurance Plans), an advocacy and trade organization made up of health insurance companies, issued a statement claiming that, “While health insurance providers work to reduce insulin costs, this policy unfortunately does nothing to lower the price of insulin but simply shifts costs to others through higher insurance premiums and copays.”

According to the CDC, 37.3 million Americans—or one out of every 10 people—are currently living with diabetes, and one in five people aren’t even aware they have it. Another 96 million people (more than one in three) have pre-diabetes, and are at risk of being diagnosed. Compounding the problem is the COVID pandemic; a recent, large-scale study found that people who have had even mild cases of COVID are at a 40 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes within a year of their coronavirus infection.

Forbes reports that the cost of insulin is generally $175 to $300 per vial, and that many diabetes sufferers require up to three vials per month. It’s a life-saving drug, but many simply cannot afford it. Which is partly why diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 87,000 people each year.

Needlessly to say, some were flummoxed and outraged over the Republican opposition to the bill.

Now that the bill has passed the House, it will move on to the Senate, who will decide its fate.

(Via NBC News)