Earlier in the weekend, the Senate congressman ruled that part of the Democrats’ ceiling, included in the Cut Inflation Act, did not comply with the rules that allow them to advance a project bill as part of the process known as reconciliation — a tactic that helps them avoid a GOP filibuster. It gave the Republicans an opening to get rid of it.
“Republicans just officially voted in favor of expensive insulin,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “After years of tough talks about battling insulin manufacturers, Republicans have once again wilted in the heat of Big Pharma.”
Some Republicans backed the price cap in the 57-43 vote for the measure, but not enough Democrats joined in to pass it.
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, more than one in five insulin users with private medical insurance pay more than $35 a month for the drug.
Some 7 million Americans need insulin daily. A Yale University study found that 14% of these insulin users spend more than 40% of their income after food and lodging costs for medication.
Despite an unfavorable ruling by the House Congressman, Democrats opted to keep the price cap provision in the bill anyway. That gave Republicans, led in the debate by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), an opening for a challenge on the Senate floor. Democrats would have needed 60 votes — their entire caucus plus the support of 10 GOP members — to fend off that challenge. They failed.
The fight was a political loss for Democrats, but it was also a political victory, as lower prices for drugs like insulin are popular with voters.
“The only way it doesn’t get through is if people across the aisle decide to block it,” said Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), who previously proposed legislation calling for price caps. .
GOP lawmakers had previously tried to propose their own smaller version of an insulin price limit, but Democrats rejected it as too narrow.
“The cost of insulin is not just out of control, it’s devastating people,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in the Senate, imploring the GOP not to remove the bill’s price cap of law. shouldn’t be a hard vote to cast.