The Build Back Better Act Will Lower Insulin Costs for Millions
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tina Smith (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18) joined Protect Our Care to discuss the Build Back Better Act’s critical provisions to make insulin more affordable. The bill caps insulin costs at $35 per month for millions of patients with health insurance. The Build Back Better Act also works to deliver relief to families by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, cracking down on outrageous price increases, and capping seniors’ out-of-pocket drug costs.
In addition to lowering prescription drug costs, the historic legislation extends affordable coverage to millions of Americans, reduces premium costs, enhances Medicare benefits for seniors to include hearing, and makes bold investments in maternal health. During the call, speakers discussed how it is essential for Congress to pass Build Back Better with all of the health care measures intact to deliver lower health care and prescription drug costs to working families nationwide.
“No one should have to choose between the insulin they need to live and other necessities like food, housing, or child care. Patients have enough to worry about without constantly dreading the question, ‘how in the world am I going to pay for this?’ That’s why Build Back Better takes significant new steps to lower drug costs for families, put money back in Americans’ pockets, and cap the price of insulin at $35 a month for people on Medicare and people with private insurance. If we are going to build a stronger, fairer nation in the wake of this pandemic, that has to include building a health care system that is focused on patients’ health, not drug companies’ profits,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).
“Every day, I hear from Minnesotans struggling to pay for their medicine. Americans should not be required to pay three times more for their medications than people in other parts of the world, while drug companies go about the business of making huge profits,” said United States Senator Tina Smith (D-MN). “The Build Back Better Act will finally give Medicare the authority and the tools to negotiate for lower prices for certain medications, including insulin. If you are a person living with diabetes, and you get your health insurance through Medicare or through private insurance, you won’t pay more than $35 a month. This is a big deal.”
“The price of insulin has tripled in the last 15 years. And these price hikes have forced so many Americans to choose between buying their prescriptions and paying their mortgage, their rent, their groceries, and the other essentials in their day to day lives. In fact, one in four diabetes patients reports rationing their insulin, which is life threatening,” said Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA). “In my family, we lost a young member in his early 20s to diabetes. He left a young wife and a newborn baby. So for millions of others, as well as in my family, this is personal. It’s about the American family and being able to care for one another. The Build Back Better Act is going to lower costs for patients — it’s going to save lives.”
“I first rationed my insulin in 2009 when I was underinsured and I was working two jobs just out of college. The price for my insulin was over $1,000 for one month’s supply, and that’s well beyond my means. I gambled with my life, as many diabetics have done,” said Kevin Wren, a type 1 diabetic from Washington. “It’s dehumanizing not being able to afford insulin, and our desire to live is exploited and extorted by pharmaceutical manufacturers like Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi. The price of insulin has increased unabated for almost 30 years now, and the Build Back Better Act will take great steps and allow the HHS Secretary to negotiate for lower prices. I think this is a huge win and a great step.”
“Build Back Better takes a bold step forward to ensure millions of patients can afford their insulin,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “In the wealthiest nation on earth, it is shameful that so many families are forced to choose between essentials like food or rent and the medications they need to survive. Build Back Better works to put an end to the status quo by cracking down on big drug companies who have abused the system for far too long. Families are counting on Congress to pass Build Back Better so they can sleep easier at night knowing they can finally afford the health care they need.”