Insulin patients and independent pharmacies will be glad to know that late last week the U.S. House passed by a 232 – 192 vote the “Affordable Insulin Now Act” (H.R. 6833), which would cap the monthly insulin copay for those with health insurance at $35 per month. Uninsured individuals would not receive this benefit. All Democrats present voted for the bill, as did 12 Republicans.
The issue now moves to the U.S. Senate, where Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) has introduced similar legislation (S. 3700), with the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and 33 other cosponsors (all Democrats except for 1 Independent). In addition, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) are working on a bipartisan insulin bill with a broader scope. It appears that the earliest resolution in the Senate will take at least three weeks, and any quick passage would require the support of 60 of the 100 senators. While most everyone agrees on the need to help patients with diabetes to be able to better control their disease, AmerisourceBergen supports public policy to lower insulin patient copays, especially if increased affordability could lead to improved medication adherence by diabetic patients.
Supporters of such insulin copay capping legislation point to providing aid to the many people who take insulin to control diabetes and the desire to achieve at least one win on drug pricing issues.
Opponents point to 1) the projected increase in premiums and cost to the federal budget, and/or 2) not wishing to break off this popular issue from more comprehensive drug pricing and healthcare legislation.
More about these policy issues and the dynamics of Democrats sensing a potential political victory that many Republicans do not want to concede can be found at the following Washington Post (subscription required) and Politico articles. We will keep you informed of developments.