U.S. House passes bill to cap insulin costs at $35 a month

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Georgia, speaks during a news conference ahead of the House vote on a bill to cap insulin costs for patients with private insurance to $35 per month. Handout photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath's office.

Credit: Handout

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U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Georgia, speaks during a news conference ahead of the House vote on a bill to cap insulin costs for patients with private insurance to $35 per month. Handout photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath's office.

Credit: Handout

Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath are among the proposal’s champions

WASHINGTON — Democrats, along with a dozen Republicans, have passed a bill in the U.S. House that would limit the cost of insulin to $35 a month for patients with private insurance.

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, was among the primary sponsors of the House bill. It now moves to the Senate, where another member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, is among the members working to draft a proposal that can gain bipartisan support and avoid a filibuster.

McBath said before the vote that controlling the cost of insulin for diabetes patients will make it easier to live with one of the most prominent chronic diseases.

“This bill will lower the cost of the lifesaving medication that millions of Americans need,” she said. “And yes, it will truly save lives.”

The House vote on Thursday was 232-193, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats in the majority. Georgia’s delegation split strictly along party lines, with all six Democrats in favor and all eight Republicans opposed.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux spoke about her father, who she said paid $300 a month for a vial of insulin that in Canada cost about $25.

“No one should have to make that choice,” the Suwanee Democrat said.

Republicans debating against the bill Thursday said it was a needless distraction while Congress should be focused on a more pressing issue: rising gas prices. Many GOP lawmakers said they supported replacing the legislation with the text of a bill they say would increase domestic oil production.

Georgia resident Shannon Bjorneby spoke during a news conference hosted by Warnock on Thursday to talk up the benefits of the legislation. Her 17-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago, and the cost of insulin has caused the family to reconsider vacations and nonessential medical procedures.

“I’m having to choose things every month in order to make sure that my son gets the care that he needs in order to survive, and I shouldn’t have to do that,” said Bjorneby, who lives in Darien.

Warnock said he is working with Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Health Committee, and Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who serves on the committee, to iron out language that can pass in that chamber. He pointed out that 20 states and the District of Columbia have existing laws that cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin.


HOW THEY VOTED ON H.R. 6833, the Affordable Insulin Now Act

“Yes”

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta

U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta

“No”

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton

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