As reported by NPR and other outlets, the House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve legislation that would limit cost-sharing for insulin under private health insurance and Medicare. The vote was 232-193, with 12 Republican members joining their Democratic colleagues to pass the measure.
Two facts are staring back at us with this vote. First, the majority of Republicans voted against the measure. And even more glaring, this is not the first time this cap has been passed by the House.
The first attempt to cap insulin prices was passed in November of 2021 as part of the Bill Back Better bill.
Build back better was notable for being a massive investment in the “human” side of rebuilding the infrastructure of the U.S. It is also notable for being sabotaged by two corrupt members of the Democratic party, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Simena.
These two Senator are well noted for their close ties with the pharma industry. Joe Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is the former CEO of Mylan Pharma—infamous for her price gouging and profiteering of life saving EpiPens.
Kyrsten Simena ran on a platform of lowering drug prices but then accepted mind-blowing amounts of money from the pharma lobby and now votes their way on all issues.
The pharma lobby, operating to protect an industry that is fully addicted to price gouging and profiteering, does not care which side of the aisle it dumps cash into. Their only interest is in being able to maintain their stranglehold on American healthcare wallets. Pharma companies already routinely charge 10 times or more in the U.S. than in other countries.
Build Back Better contained far more that scared Big Pharma than a cap on insulin. It would have restored Medicare’s right to negotiate drug prices directly and this could not be allowed from their viewpoint.
Republicans who voted against protecting diabetics from insulin price gouging are clearly in the camp of corporate profits over human lives. This amplifies the dire necessity for finally instituting universal healthcare.
But the position of Republicans is that such a system is “communist” and “cost prohibitive.” Both arguments are hollow. The first has been being used since Truman attempted to establish it in 1947 and the latter is just false. Projected costs for universal healthcare are about $3 trillion per year. But we spent 30 percent more than that on for-profit healthcare in 2020 alone.
It is a good thing that Members of Congress that have their constituents in mind rather than donors are acting in the pubic interest. That’s the way things are supposed to work. Now we need to shove this through the Senate. Failing this, the White House may need to find a legal precedent to force this price reduction through executive action. Either way, the price gouging of at least insulin has to end. Once it does, action on other inflated drug prices can follow. And this is precisely what Big Pharma fears.
Let’s let those fears become a reality.