WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats were able to keep the out-of-pocket price for most insulin at $35 per month through the Inflation Reduction Act they passed Sunday and sent on to the House. But millions of diabetics will still pay more after Republicans amended the measure to exclude private insurers.
The Senate parliamentarian decided on Sunday that the cap on private insurers was not in line with the rules of reconciliation, the budgetary process which allowed Democrats to pass the bill without Republican support in the evenly divided Senate.
Republicans pushed to limit the cap to Medicare only, a vote that required 60 senators to overcome. Seven Republicans sided with Democrats to keep the provision on private insurers in place, but it fell short – 57-43 – meaning the cap will not apply outside of Medicare assuming the House passes the bill.
Republicans who voted against the cap on private insurers argued the Senate should decide on the cap separate from the larger reconciliation bill, which includes a variety of measures on climate and taxation in addition to pharmaceutical pricing.
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The seven Republicans who voted to keep the cap on private insurers were Susan Collins of Maine, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Josh Hawley of Missouri, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.
While the cap for Medicare recipients is still a win Democrats have long pushed for, letting private insurers continue to decide what they charge is a setback for those in diabetic community advocating for across-the-bard price controls.
President Joe Biden called for the $35 cap