Jul 8, 2022 - Health

Republican senators want to tap brakes on insulin price caps

Photo: Joan Slatkin/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Five Republican senators are warning against fast-tracking a bill to cap insulin costs, saying its “far-ranging implications” merit congressional hearings and a more extensive discussion.

Why it matters: It could be a serious hurdle to bipartisan efforts to limit out-of-pocket costs for more than 37 million Americans with diabetes.

Flashback: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last month indicated he wanted to schedule a floor vote on the bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) “very soon.”

  • That’s not sitting well with Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, who say they want a chance to hear from experts, debate the legislation and potentially amend it in the committee.
  • “As with most proposals regarding drug pricing, their proposed changes involve trade-offs and far-ranging implications, which both deserve frank discussion,” the senators wrote to top lawmakers on the Finance panel.
  • The letter was signed by Sens. Pat Toomey, John Barrasso, Steve Daines, Rob Portman and Ben Sasse, who could be instrumental in getting the bill through the chamber.

Zoom out: The bill would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for individuals with private insurance and Medicare.

  • It doesn't guarantee lower list prices for insulin and could instead shift more of the cost to health insurers, resulting in higher premiums. America’s Health Insurance Plans has said the bill raises serious concerns.

Yes, but: More than a dozen patient advocacy groups are pushing for a vote, saying many diabetes patients are rationing insulin and struggling to afford a drug needed to keep them alive.

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