Joe Biden reprises bid to cap insulin at $35 a month for everyone

President Biden pushed Congress to “finish the job” and cap the cost of insulin at $35 for anyone who needs it, saying his signature tax-and-climate legislation set a limit on older Americans’ costs last year but others need relief.

“We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare. People are just finding out,” Mr. Biden said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. “Look, there are millions of other Americans who are not on Medicare, including 200,000 young people with Type I diabetes who need insulin to save their lives. Let’s finish the job this time. Let’s cap the cost of insulin for everybody at $35.”

Mr. Biden said “Big Pharma is still going to do very well” under his plan.

Lawmakers in both parties have sounded the alarm over the cost of insulin for diabetes sufferers, pointing to stories from constituents who say they’ve had to ration their medicine.

During the debate over Mr. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Senate parliamentarian said a broad cap on insulin costs for people on private insurance ran afoul of “budget reconciliation” rules the Democrats used to avoid the filibuster. 

After the ruling, Republicans were able to block the measure from advancing.

Democrats used the issue as a political cudgel against the GOP in the midterm elections. If Mr. Biden’s speech is any indication, they will use it again in 2024.

“Now, some members here are threatening … to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act,” Mr. Biden said. “Make no mistake, if you try anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it.”

Republicans responded by calling Mr. Biden’s plan misguided. They said he should use the bully pulpit to push for voluntary limits on costs, akin to former President Donald Trump’s strategy. They said government controls would lead to bigger costs elsewhere.

“President Biden refuses to acknowledge that mandating a cap on insulin copays fails to address the root cause of insulin prices,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy Rodgers, Washington Republican. “Instead, it will lead to higher premiums for all seniors, and if he gets his way, all Americans.”

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