Senate Republicans Triumph Over Affordable Insulin

Senate Republicans Triumph Over Affordable Insulin
2014/365/307 Eight Bottles | Eight bottles of insulin arrive… | Flickr

Conservatives across the nation have railed against "Big Pharma" for the last few years, furious that companies like Moderna and Pfizer would do something as cruel as develop a vaccine to prevent people from contracting a highly transmissible virus that could kill them, instead of just letting them eat horse paste and drink magic bleach, as God intended. But there are still a few things they love about massive pharmaceutical companies, and one of them is the absolutely obscene prices they charge Americans for lifesaving drugs like insulin.

This weekend, 43 Republican senators took a brave stand during IRA negotiations and crushed a provision to cap insulin prices at $35 a month, a price that would still be about three times what it is in most other countries. Right now, the average price of a month's supply of insulin in the States runs from $175 to $300, so $35 a month would have been a very welcome change for a lot of people or sinners God doesn't love enough to bless with enough money to afford the more exorbitant prices. Surely, if God/Jesus/The Holy Ghost wanted those people to have insulin he would have given them bodies that produce insulin properly on their own, or made them rich enough to afford it!

Maybe diabetic Republicans across the country are breathing a sigh of relief now, safe in the knowledge that insulin will remain an exclusive luxury product, unavailable to the teeming masses. How are they supposed to know they are better than other people if they don't get to see someone slip into a diabetic coma every once in a while?

Or maybe they are not all that jazzed. Turns out, capping the cost of insulin is an extremely popular provision, and according to Data for Progress, 85 percent of Americans support capping the cost at $35.

The measure was proposed by Democratic Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, and in order for it to be added to the reconciliation bill, Democrats required 60 votes in favor. But with 50 Democrats and the seven Republicans, they were three votes short of victory.

Here are all seven of the Republican senators who voted with the Democrats to cap insulin prices:

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Josh Hawley of Missouri; Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi; and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska joined Democrats in voting to keep the insulin cap for private insurers on Sunday.

If your Republican senator isn't on that list, they're one of the 43.

More, from CNBC:

Following the vote, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., accused Republicans of caving to pressures from the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of citizens.

“Republicans have just gone on the record in favor of expensive insulin,” Wyden said in a statement. “After years of tough talk about taking on insulin makers, Republicans have once against wilted in the face of heat from Big Pharma.”

“Fortunately, the $35 insulin copay cap for insulin in Medicare remains in the bill, so seniors will get relief from high insulin costs. I will continue working to deliver lower insulin costs to all Americans,” he added.

So, just to be clear, for the vast majority of Senate Republicans, Big Pharma is bad when it makes lifesaving vaccines and good when it's charging American citizens absolutely obscene amounts of money for drugs people in other countries can buy for almost nothing.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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