Sunday, June 26, 2022

Why we need to lower the cost of insulin to $35

By Colin Allred
U.S. House of
Representatives (TX-32)

One of the issues I hear most about from North Texans is the high cost of prescription drugs, and specifically the high cost of insulin. This drug is not optional for folks living with diabetes – they need it to survive.

One in four people with diabetes ration their insulin, and in the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, this is unacceptable. Congress must take action to deliver relief.

The House took a step to do just that with the passage of the Affordable Insulin Now Act. I was proud to support this important legislation, which caps co-pays at $35 per month for insulin for those with private insurance or those who have Medicare Part D coverage. This will deliver critical relief to North Texans who often have to choose between paying for this life-saving medication or their groceries and other bills.

 

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred

This legislation, if signed into law, would be a good first step forward in lowering the costs of insulin and other prescription drugs. In 2019, I released a report that found that the 13,000 Medicare enrollees in my district with diabetes pay 4.5 times the cost for diabetes medication compared to Australia, 3.5 times compared to the United Kingdom and 2.8 times the cost compared to Canada.

This legislation would cut those costs. Half of the folks with private insurance would save around $228 per year and another 25 percent of the folks with private insurance would save about $504 per year. With more than 30 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes, legislation like the Affordable Insulin Now Act is critical.

There are countless examples of Black Americans being disproportionately impacted by illness due to lack of access to treatment and preventative care – and diabetes is no different. The costs that are associated with insulin and other forms of diabetes care make this illness more than twice as deadly for Black Americans as it is for white Americans. Reducing insulin costs will help save lives as we work to ensure that every American has accessible and affordable health care.

Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve heard from North Texans about what the high cost of prescription drugs means for them. My first State of the Union guest, Shane Thompson from Garland, shared with me that despite having a good job, she still struggles to afford the medication she needs to survive. Her story is unfortunately all too common. I recently convened a roundtable with Speaker Nancy Pelosi where Shane and other North Texans shared their stories about the high cost of health care directly with the Speaker.

My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I know first-hand the hardships that working families face when trying to access the health care and medication they need. Nobody should have to choose between buying the medicine they need to live a healthy life or putting food on the table, and this bill is a great first step in our efforts to lower health care costs.

As long as I’m in Congress, I’ll keep fighting until this bill gets signed into law and to make health care more accessible and affordable for every North Texan.

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