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Some Democratic lawmakers want to see insulin costs capped at $35 for all Americans
By Alex Zdan and Matt Trapani,
Some Democrats in Congress say they want to see a federally mandated $35 per month cap on insulin costs for senior citizens applied to everyone.
This comes as drugmaker Novo Nordisk announced it will dramatically reduce the price of insulin drugs and Eli Lilly capped the out-of-pocket cost of its diabetes treatment.
Newark resident Joseph Werbeck is one of more than 600,000 people in New Jersey diagnosed with diabetes. He says that he didn’t think this day would ever come.
“It’s not a choice. You know? It’s what we got born into,” Werbeck says.
Werbeck, who is a senior citizen, now benefits from a federal law that keeps his monthly costs at $35 for the insulin he needs to live his life.
“None of us want to be in the position where we hear of a person making a choice between dinner and their medication. Paying their electricity bill and their medication,” says Ed Jimenez, CEO of University Hospital in Newark.
The Inflation Reduction act signed by President Joe Biden last August capped the cost of insulin for seniors at $35 per month.
“We fought tooth and nail to enact this commonsense measure,” Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez says.
Menendez says that now he and other Democratic lawmakers want to cap those costs for every American.
“It is a matter of life and death,” says Democratic Rep. Donald Payne.
Payne is a diabetic and recounted a shocking visit to a pharmacy in Washington D.C. after he’d forgotten his insulin in Newark.
“And this wasn’t for a whole month’s supply. It’s just a partial - $357. And my mouth dropped open, because I have insurance, I did not know the cost of what insulin was,” says Payne. “It’s unfortunate that the companies that produce this would charge so much for it when they know it’s life and death. So they know you don’t have a choice.”
Payne says the actual cost to the drugmaker to make a bottle of insulin is $10.
“It should not matter whether you have Medicare or private health insurance. It should not matter whether you are 6, 16 or 65 - insulin should be affordable for every American,” says Menendez.
In a statement, Biden urged all other manufacturers to follow Novo Nordisk’s lead. He says he wants Republicans in Congress to join Democrats to cap insulin at $35 for all Americans.