As part of week two of the Inflation Reduction Act themed weeks, Protect Our Care is highlighting provisions in the bill that will directly benefit America’s seniors. Democrats in Congress have been working tirelessly to put money back in the pockets of American seniors by capping the price of insulin. The $35 cap will change the lives of the millions of insulin users on Medicare that no longer will have to decide between affording their medication or putting food on the table. Taking insulin, as prescribed, also reduces the likelihood of costly complications such as vision loss, heart disease, and kidney disease.
- No Medicare beneficiary will pay more than $35 a month for insulin beginning in 2023.
- 3.2 million insulin users on Medicare Part D will benefit from the $35 cap in 2023.
- Republicans in Congress blocked a universal insulin cap to help millions of Americans.
Makes Insulin Accessible And Affordable For Seniors. In 2020, there were more than 3.2 million insulin users on Medicare Part D, with nearly 1.7 million purchasing their insulin without low-income subsidies. On average, seniors with Medicare Part D who are not receiving subsidies pay an average of $572 every year for this life saving medication — an unthinkable sum for many on fixed incomes. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, insulin copays for seniors on Medicare will be capped at $35 each month starting in 2023.
Affordable Insulin Directly Helps Minority And Rural Seniors. Minority Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes when compared to their white counterparts with over 12 percent of Black adults and 11.8 percent of Hispanics being diagnosed with the disease. Black Americans also continue to be the hardest hit when it comes to affording their prescription drugs and paying medical bills.
According to a 2018 study, rural Americans are 17 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes than urban Americans. Diabetes risk factors are higher in rural areas than their urban and suburban counterparts as they have less access to health care providers, fewer transportation options to receive care, and higher rates of being uninsured.
These seniors are forced to stop taking their medication or cut doses in half. Diabetics suffer severe effects such as numbness in feet and nerve damage in the eyes when they stop taking doses as prescribed. Patients who suffer chronic complications can expect to pay upwards of an additional $650 per year. The insulin cap provision in the Inflation Reduction Act will vastly improve the lives of millions of older, minority, and rural insulin users.
Republicans Blocked Insulin Cap for Millions of Americans. In early August, as the final negotiations were being made on the Inflation Reduction Act, Republicans in the Senate unified together to make sure that the $35 insulin cap was not universal. In a country where 80 percent of diabetics have had to go into debt in order to pay for insulin, this type of action by Republicans reeks of the influence of Big Pharma. When addressing this at his rally on Thursday August 25th, President Joe Biden railed against the cowardice of elected Republicans and emphasized to the American people that the IRA would be just the beginning of his plans to reduce health care costs for all Americans. “These Republicans ripped that out of the bill, but we’re coming back.”