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Republicans Just Shot Down a Cap on Insulin Costs

Senator Raphael Warnock called it a decision to “put politics in front of the people.”

SHERRY YATES YOUNG/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/AP

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On Sunday, Senate Republicans struck down a proposal to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for non-Medicare patients.

The price of the century-old medication has tripled over two decades, forcing patients with diabetes to spend thousands of dollars on the life-saving drug. 

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) proposed a $35 cap on monthly out-of-pocket insulin costs as part of the Democrats’ sweeping healthcare and climate package, which the Senate is on the verge of passing. But during a marathon weekend of back-to-back votes on the legislation, Republicans struck down the cap for patients on private insurance. The Senate parliamentarian, a non-partisan advisor, ruled that the non-Medicare part of the proposed cap didn’t comply with the rules for reconciliation, the tactic that Democrats are taking to pass the legislation and avoid a Republican filibuster.

In a partial victory for Democrats, the portion of the legislation that caps insulin costs for Medicare patients was left untouched. More than 7 million Americans rely on insulin to manage their diabetes, including more than 3 million Medicare beneficiaries. Monthly insulin co-payments are capped in 20 states, including nine states where the cap is $35 or lower. 

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