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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration is working on a proposal to lower seniors' out-of-pocket costs for insulin, which have nearly doubled over the last decade.

Why it matters: Voters care deeply about prescription drug prices, and if the policy comes to fruition, it could both help seniors afford their insulin and give the administration political points.

Details: The White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are jointly working on the policy.

  • Details are unclear or undecided. One idea is to give insurers an incentive to offer plans with lower cost-sharing, a source familiar said.
  • "The goal is to make sure it’s technically sound and if it helps patients, get it out" as soon as possible, a senior administration official said.
  • A CMS spokesperson declined to comment.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar is recused from the effort because he was previously the president of Eli Lilly, one of three dominant insulin manufacturers.

The big picture: Even as patients are struggling to afford prescription drugs across the board, insulin stands out.

  • It's an old drug whose initial patent was sold for a mere $1. Yet its price continues to rise.
  • One-third of Medicare beneficiaries had diabetes in 2016, and total Part D spending on insulin rose from $1.4 billion in 2007 to to $13.3 billion in 2017, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Seniors spent, on average, $588 out-of-pocket for insulin in 2016 — nearly double the price they paid in 2007.

Yes, but: Lowering patients' out-of-pocket spending probably wouldn't lower the actual cost of the drug, meaning that it'd get shifted onto taxpayers.

Between the lines: The Trump administration has either dropped a lot of its drug-pricing ideas or has seen them held up in court.

  • But a meaningful insulin policy could be a big political win, especially because insulin is a poster child for runaway prescription drug prices.

Go deeper: The outrage over insulin prices

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."