Schumer pushes for insulin price cap
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday expressed support for the Affordable Insulin Now Act, a congressional bill that would cap the price of insulin at $35 a dose.
If passed, the cap would apply to private insurance and Medicare plans. The bill is being carried by U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia.
Schumer said the cost of insulin is constantly rising due to complicated distribution networks and pharmaceutical companies.
“The cost that many have to pay now is $600 a month for this insulin,” Schumer told reporters in Albany.
“When you add that to the other materials that diabetics need, the pumps and all that other stuff, the measuring stuff, it can cost… around $13,000 a year if you don’t have insurance. And very close to that if you have junk insurance that has high deductibles, high copays and things like that.
Danielle Slater, an advocate for diabetes causes, said that for some the cost forces families to make tough decisions about their needs.
“With type 1 diabetes, it’s not a choice. It’s an autoimmune disease. There’s nothing I can do to cure it, to prevent it,” Slater said.
“I shouldn’t have to choose between feeding my family or paying for my insulin. The truth with insulin is that it’s a prescribed dose. It doesn’t really help me or others if you don’t take the prescribed dose.
While Schumer has touted bipartisan support for the measure, he is yet to claim victory.
“No, I don’t think it’s almost unanimous. We have a lot of our friends who don’t want to pay for any kind of health care,” Schumer said.
“But there are several Republican bills that have come forward that are similar. I believe there is one from Senator Kennedy from Louisiana and one from Senator Collins from Maine.
Schumer said support for similar measures is a good sign of potential change in the near future. The majority leader plans to put the bill to a vote in March.