Senate Democrats have failed to achieve their long-term goal of lowering insulin prices for the more than 150 million Americans with private health insurance.
The party has pushed to include a measure in its climate and health care package, passed by the Chamber of Commerce on Sunday, that would put a $35 cap on insulin for people with Medicare and private insurance.
However, members of the Senate have argued that extending the cap to the private market does not meet the rules of the settlement process, and Democrats have passed legislation by a simple majority in the past.
Democrats kept the provisions in the bill anyway, but Republicans on Sunday raised a procedural issue that led to a vote to limit the $35 cap to Medicare beneficiaries only. The final vote was 57-43, with seven Republican senators joining all members of the Senate Democratic caucus — but a 60-vote threshold was needed to keep the private market provisions in place.
The seven Republican senators who supported the provision were Susan Collins of Maine, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John F. Kennedy and Bill Casey of Louisiana Dee, and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.
Democrats have long sought to lower the price of insulin, which costs just a few dollars to produce, even though prices have soared over the years. This has forced some Americans to ration the drug, sometimes with deadly consequences.
President Joe Biden called for a $35 cap in his March State of the Union address, which Democrats included in a sweeping “build back better” package that passed the House last fall before stalling in the Senate not forward.
This year, Democratic Sen. Rafael Warnock of Georgia pushed a bill to limit the cost of insulin to $35, as did Collins of New Hampshire and Democratic Sen. Jenny Shaheen in a bipartisan effort . Neither has progressed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million people in the U.S. have diabetes — more than one in 10 Americans — although not everyone knows it. More than 7 million people are dependent on insulin.
About one in five people who take insulin and get health insurance through a large employer pay more than $35 a month for the drug, according to one study. analyze From the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than a quarter of those with an Affordable Care Act policy and nearly a third of those with insurance through a small employer paid more than that threshold.