Mar 23 2023
“While the world waits for a cure to diabetes, I am glad to join Sen. Warnock in offering a bipartisan solution to the rising cost of insulin for Louisianians and Americans living with diabetes. By making preventative care more accessible, this bill would reduce long-term health care costs for individual patients, avoid devastating complications from diabetes and take pressure off the entire health care system,” said Kennedy.
“I’ve long said that making insulin affordable for everyone should be bipartisan, and today we prove that’s not just talk. I’m thrilled to work with my colleague and friend, Senator Kennedy, to finally make insulin affordable for everyone who needs it. Insulin is a 100-year-old drug with a patent that was sold for $1. No one should feel forced to put their health or life in danger because they can’t afford their insulin. We have the momentum—let’s get this done,” said Warnock.
More than 14% of Louisiana’s adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes, and more than 30% of adult Louisianians are pre-diabetic.
Louisiana alone spends an estimated $5.7 billion a year on direct medical expenses for those who are diagnosed with diabetes. By ensuring that insulin is affordable, the long-term cost of care for patients will decrease over time as more Americans are able to prevent complications including heart disease, kidney disease, strokes and other diagnoses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diagnosed diabetes total $327 billion yearly, and the American Diabetes Association has asserted that diabetics account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S.
A national study projected that improving access to insulin for uninsured patients could help avoid complications of diabetes and deaths related to the disease. As a result, the health care system could save substantial amounts of money on providing care to uninsured diabetes patients.
The Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023 would:
- Require private group or individual plans to cover one of each insulin dosage form (i.e. vial, pen) and insulin type (i.e. rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting) for no more than $35 per month.
- Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a program to reimburse qualifying entities for covering any costs that exceed $35 for providing a 30-day supply of insulin to uninsured patients.
- Be fully paid for by an offset to be determined when the bill is voted on the floor.
- In August of last year, Kennedy introduced an amendment to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to cap insulin costs.
- In June 2022, Kennedy penned an op-ed outlining the benefits of making insulin affordable for diabetic Louisianians.
- In September 2021, Kennedy introduced the Seniors Saving on Insulin Act and the Vital Medication Affordability Act in an effort to make insulin and epinephrine more affordable.
- In August of 2021, Kennedy introduced the Ending Pricey Insulin Act to address skyrocketing insulin prices.
Full bill text is available here.