Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that will set the maximum amount permitted to be charged for insulin each month.
The Affordable Insulin Now Act, which passed 232-193, will set the cap at $35 for insured patients, The Associated Press reported.
It had unanimous support from Democrats and 12 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the legislation, The New York Times reported.
It will need at least 10 Republicans if it has a chance in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Senate’s passage is unlikely.
The law, if passed by the Senate, would help patients with private insurance as well as Medicare customers from having to pay high out-of-pocket costs for their medications.
Those without insurance, however, will not see the $35 cap, the AP reported.
The bill was also a bit of a chess match leading up to the midterm election as it is a rallying cry for Democrats and could force Republicans who oppose the bill into votes that could be used against them during campaigns.
“If 10 Republicans stand between the American people being able to get access to affordable insulin, that’s a good question for 10 Republicans to answer,” Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., a cosponsor of the House bill, said, according to the AP.
But some Republicans say the bill does not do enough to curb inflated medication costs. It could also raise the cost of insurance premiums.
The cost charged by pharmaceutical companies for insulin would not change, just that the insurance companies would pay a higher percentage of the total cost, with consumers paying at most $35, the Times reported.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said the legislation is only “a small piece of a larger package around government price controls for prescription drugs.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., called the insulin bill a step in the right direction.
“It is for us a step in the direction of the secretary [Department of Health and Human Services secretary] being able to negotiate for lower drug prices beyond insulin,” Pelosi said Thursday, the Times reported.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said a deal could be made over prescription drugs if Democrats drop the push to give Medicare permission to negotiate prices.
President Joe Biden had tried to rein in the costs of prescriptions as part of his social and climate legislative platform introduced last year, the AP reported.
“I think it’s safe to say that all of us, all of us, whatever our background, our age, where we live, we can agree that prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country,” Biden said in December, the Times reported.
If passed, the insulin bill would take effect in 2023.
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