Senate GOP Blocks Insulin Price Cap For Private Insurance As Democrats Aim To Pass Economic Bill


The Senate has spent more than 12 hours debating amendments to the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark climate, tax and healthcare bill Democrats aim to pass Sunday afternoon using the Senate’s reconciliation rules, as Republicans continue to rail against the legislation and successfully removed an insulin price cap from the bill.

Key Facts

The Senate began voting on amendments late Saturday evening and continued working on the bill overnight, with Democrats quashing a series of amendments proposed by Republicans—as well as a handful proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

A provision that would have capped insulin prices for private insurers at $35 a month was blocked by Republicans on Sunday, with 43 senators voting against the provision while 57 lawmakers—including 7 Republicans and every Democrat—voted to keep it, falling short of the 60 -vote threshold required for non-budget-related items.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called the vote “shameful” and said it will force diabetic Americans “to continue rationing their insulin—putting their lives at risk.”

Republicans argued the insulin price cap did not fall under the rules for reconciliation bills, after Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough said the provision did not relate to the federal budget (reconciliation bills must deal with budgetary legislation in order to bypass the 60-vote filibuster rule and pass with a simple majority vote).

A $35 insulin copay cap for Medicare patients remains in the bill for now.

What To Watch For

Senators are expected to continue the “vote-a-rama” through Sunday before holding a final vote on the bill and—if it passes—sending it to the House.

Key Background

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) announced a deal to introduce a tax, climate and healthcare bill with scaled-down provisions from the Build Back Better bill that Democrats proposed but failed to pass last year. The bill would invest money in renewable energy programs, allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, extend Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years and raise revenue by introducing a 15% minimum corporate tax and giving the Internal Revenue Service more funding. Manchin said the bill would reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion over the next ten years without “arbitrarily (shutting) off our abundant fossil fuels.”

Further Reading

Manchin Strikes Deal With Schumer On Energy And Healthcare Bill—Including Remnants Of Build Back Better (Forbes)

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