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House passes bill to cap cost of insulin at $35 a month

The House passed a bill capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month in a move that could impact diabetics around the country.

“There is no time off when you live with diabetes,” said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA).

McBath, Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-MI) and Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY), co-sponsored the Affordable Insulin Now Act in the House.

“Why is it that a child born with this disease must spend around $6,000 a year for life on a drug that has been around for over a century?” said McBath.

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Supporters of the measure said it will help prevent diabetics from having to make the difficult choice between buying life-saving medicine and paying the bills.

“Americans are paying more than ten times the price of insulin as people in other high-income countries,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ).

But opponents argued the government shouldn’t dictate prices for the private sector.

Republicans pointed to concerns over insurance companies charging people more for other critical needs if the bill becomes law.

“We don’t know how other drug costs are going to be impacted through this legislation,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). “They’re going to pass those costs to patients in the form of higher out of pocket costs for other drugs or higher premiums.”

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With the measure passed in the House, eyes now turn to the Senate.

As co-Chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) are leading bipartisan negotiations on a similar proposal in the Senate.

In a joint statement, Shaheen and Collins said: “Access to insulin is a matter of life or death for many people living with diabetes – cost should never be a barrier for those whose lives literally depend on affording this medication. Negotiations are ongoing, but there is a bipartisan determination to present policy proposals that both cap out-of-pocket costs and address soaring insulin prices that for too long have forced some Americans to ration their supplies. That’s unacceptable and it’s time we put an end to it.”