The House will soon vote on a Democrat bill that would cap the price of insulin, which is viewed by Republicans as a cynical ploy to boost Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) reelection chances.
The House will reportedly vote on H.R. 6833, the Affordable Insulin Now Act, on Thursday. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), would cap the cost-sharing under private health insurance for a month’s supply of insulin at $35 or 25 percent of the plan’s negotiated price starting in 2023. The bill would also cap the cost of insulin under Medicare to $35 or 25 percent of the plan’s negotiated price.
The bill is co-sponsored by 34 Senate Democrats, and not one Republican has backed the bill.
A Republican aide told Breitbart News that this legislation serves nothing more than a cynical attempt to help reelect Warnock.
The aide said, “This is a cheap bumper sticker slogan to try to get Warnock elected, not a serious solution to a serious problem.”
House Republican leadership recommended a vote against the legislation, contending that it would expand government control over Americans’ health care and result in less access to life-saving treatments.
House Republican leadership issued a leadership recommendation on Wednesday, urging Republicans to oppose the bill, explaining:
Leadership recommends a NO vote. Affordable Insulin Now Act
Instead of working in a bipartisan way to address the root causes of high out-of-pocket costs for insulin, Democrats are reviving their price control agenda by mandating Part D plans and private insurers cover selected insulin products at a government-imposed price cap of the lesser of $35/month or 25 percent of the negotiated price. This approach, like H.R. 3 and provisions included in Build Back Better (BBB), is another attempt to expand government control over patients’ health care. Government control and price controls will result in fewer cures and less access for Americans to doctors and drugs – including life-saving treatments.
• This provision was included in the Democrats’ failed BBB and represents the largest expansion of federal command and control in Americans’ private health insurance design since Obamacare.
• Allows manufacturers to raise the prices of insulin without scrutiny, leading to higher costs for patients through increased premiums and higher cost-sharing on insulin products that are not price controlled by the bill.
• CBO estimates the legislation would increase costs by about $11 billion and the bill uses a budget gimmick to offset the cost by delaying the Trump Administration’s rebate rule for one additional year.
• Fails to reform the convoluted rebate system so patients will continue to pay higher prices on all other drugs at the pharmacy counter.
• Republicans have introduced a bipartisan alternative, H.R. 19, which would lower all prescription drug costs, including insulin, and cap all seniors’ out-of-pocket spending on drugs while ensuring America continues to lead the world in innovation and access to cures and treatments.
A Republican Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means Committee joint messaging document obtained by Breitbart News said the bill relies on budget gimmicks and would raise costs through increased premiums and higher cost-sharing:
- Higher Prices for Insulin: Democrats’ bill allows manufactures [Sic] to raise the prices of insulin without scrutiny,leading [Sic] to higher costs for patients through increased premiums or higher cost-sharing.
- Fewer Low-Cost Options: This bill will decrease the number of generic insulins on the market.
- Imposes Costly Drug Mandates: Mandates private insurers cover selected insulin products at a
government-imposed price cap of the lesser of $35/month or 25 percent of the negotiated price.
- Spends $1.5 Million on Bureaucrats: Appropriates $1.5 M to CMS in FY 2022 to administer these new
- Uses a Budget Gimmick to Delay a Trump Admin Rule that “Finds” Money Simply by Delaying Regulations:
- $9 billion slush fund: Adds the remaining nearly $9 billion in purported savings to the Medicare
Improvement Fund (MIF), which Democrats will likely spend on other partisan priorities.
- Requires Medicare Part D plans (including Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans) to face a
coverage mandate and to remove application of the deductible to applicable insulin expenses and
caps monthly patient spending at no more than $35.
- Democrats’ price control legislation will cost over $11 billion to the federal government, with higher
premiums paid for by higher subsidies.
- For one additional year, further delays the Trump administration rebate rule (which would lower out-of-
Several healthcare and conservative organizations, including the ERISA Industry Committee, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Freedomworks, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, National Taxpayers Union, Association of Mature American Citizens, Heritage Action for America, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, and the Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage, oppose the bill.
Heritage Action Executive Director said in a statement:
If Congress mandates government price controls for insulin, they will be stifling research, reducing the creation and availability of life-saving insulin formulations, and inserting government between patients and their doctors. Instead, Congress should pursue effective free-market reforms to reduce the price of prescriptions for all Americans.
The answer to high drug prices is less government overreach, not more. In a competitive free market unburdened by unnecessary FDA regulation, insulin prices could be a fraction of their current cost. It’s up to Congress to get out of the way.
FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said in a key vote alert about the bill:
While progressives are all too eager to blame high prices on “corporate greed,” the reality is that this is an issue created by the federal government. Heavy-handed price controls are a deeply flawed solution that misses the mark when identifying the problem.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play a significant role in the dramatic rise in the cost of prescription drugs. PBMs are third-party administrators determining which drugs go on formularies (a list of approved prescription drugs that hospitals can prescribe and are covered under an insurance policy). Ostensibly, PBMs negotiate to obtain the best price. However, these “savings” are often pocketed by PBMs themselves and aren’t passed onto patients. Since they are reimbursed based on the markdown from the original list price, PBMs are incentivized to prioritize drugs with higher list prices, so they can receive a larger markdown.
“This legislation is a simplistic proposal to address a highly complex problem. We cannot afford half-hearted proposals based on unsound economics like this one for an issue that impacts so many,” Brandon added.