The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that limits payments for insulin by patients with insurance.
The legislation, known as the The Affordable Insulin Now Act and passed 232-193, would cap insulin prices at either $35 a month or 25% of an insurance plan’s negotiated price, depending on which is lower. The legislation would take effect in 2023.
For the legislation to pass Congress, 10 Republican senators would have to vote in favor.
In the Senate, Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire are working on a bipartisan insulin bill. Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has introduced legislation similar to the House bill, with the support of Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
“Glad our friends in the House passed my Affordable Insulin Now Act,” Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock tweeted. “I need my colleagues in the Senate to do the same. Lives are at stake.”
Critics say the bill would raise premiums and fails to target pharmaceutical middlemen seen as contributing to high list prices for insulin.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Democrats could have a deal on prescription drugs if they drop their bid to authorize Medicare to negotiate prices.
“Do Democrats really want to help seniors, or would they rather have the campaign issue?” Grassley said.
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, who voted against the bill, railed against the legislation in a lengthy Twitter thread, calling it “another big government bill that claims to serve the American people by subverting basic economic theory with the proposed codification of government price controls.”
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 6 million use insulin to keep their blood sugars under control.
“Imagine what it’s like to look at your child who needs insulin and have no idea how you’re going to pay for it,” President Biden said during his State of the Union address earlier this year. “Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.”