Senator Warnock to MSNBC: “This is why I put up with politics, because every now and again there’s an opportunity to do something that’s really gonna help people, and this is gonna help a lot of folks”
Senator Warnock to Politico: “As a pastor, I’ve sat in waiting rooms with families and prayed at bedsides. I know the human cost of unmanaged diabetes”
Senator Warnock to The Hill: “I’ve been there and prayed with people when they got the news that their loved one has to get an amputation. So there is the financial cost and there’s the human cost of all of this.”
Senator Warnock to Bloomberg Government: “This is transformational for the folks I’ve been talking to”
Washington, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) joined Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) in introducing the Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023. This updated legislation would cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month for insured and uninsured people. This effort builds on legislation Senator Warnock introduced last Congress to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 a month for people on private insurance and Medicare.
See more coverage of Senator Warnock’s Affordable Insulin Now Act’s introduction below:
Washington Post: Warnock, Kennedy introduce bill to cap insulin prices
Friday, March 24, 2023
- A bipartisan Senate duo are joining forces to reignite the effort on Capitol Hill to lower insulin costs.
- Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced a bill yesterday that would cap out-of-pocket costs for the lifesaving medication at $35 per month for Americans with private insurance, as well as the uninsured. If signed into law, the cost-sharing limit would kick in Jan. 1, 2024.
- A similar cap that Warnock introduced last year for Medicare beneficiaries made it into the Inflation Reduction Act, but GOP lawmakers jettisoned the part of the proposal that would have applied to people with commercial insurance. Warnock’s reintroduction of the bill is particularly notable this time around: He got a Republican to sign on.
- The legislation faces an uphill battle to get to Biden’s desk. Warnock told reporters yesterday that he is having conversations with the six other Republicans besides Kennedy that voted to keep the private insurance cap in Democrats’ sweeping health-and-climate bill, but he hasn’t picked up their support yet, according to Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
- A bipartisan Senate duo — Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) — are joining forces on a new bill to extend the current $35 per month out-of-pocket cap on insulin from Medicare to the tens of millions of Americans on private insurance as well as the uninsured.
- Warnock told POLITICO during a roundtable with reporters Thursday morning that the suffering he’s personally witnessed in his state — where more than a million people have diabetes — motivated him to take another run at the issue.
- “As a pastor, I’ve sat in waiting rooms with families and prayed at bedsides,” he said. “I know the human cost of unmanaged diabetes. I’ve been with people when they’ve gotten the news that their loved one has to get an amputation.”
- Kennedy, for his part, made a fiscally conservative argument for the “Affordable Insulin Now Act.”
- “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,” he said in a statement.
- What are its chances? Six other Republicans besides Kennedy voted last December in favor of the policy — Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) — but it fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Warnock says he’s in talks with all of them to support the new version, but he hasn’t yet secured their endorsements.
- Warnock cites recent moves by insulin manufacturers to lower their prices in the face of political pressure — as well as the inclusion of the policy in President Joe Biden’s budget — as a sign of momentum. And, he added, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is “all in” on trying to pass the bill “as soon as possible.”
Thursday, March 23, 2023
- A bipartisan Senate duo is working to reignite efforts to cap the cost of insulin for everyone with private insurance, rather than just Medicare.
- Updated legislation introduced by Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) on Thursday would cap the price of insulin at $35 for everyone on private insurance, and would also extend that discount to the uninsured.
- During a roundtable with reporters, Warnock said he understands how people with diabetes can suffer if they can’t afford insulin.
- The cost of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, even as the drug itself has remained virtually unchanged from when it was first discovered more than a century ago.
- “As a pastor who has sat in waiting rooms with families and prayed at bedsides, I know the human costs of unmanaged diabetes,” Warnock said. “I’ve been there and prayed with people when they got the news that their loved one has to get an amputation. So there is the financial cost and there’s the human cost of all of this.”
- Warnock said he intends for the bill to be fully paid for, and that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is “all in” with his support.
- The legislation would require private insurance plans to cover insulin for no more than $35 per month beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Unlike other bills aimed at lowering the cost of insulin, Warnock and Kennedy’s “Affordable Insulin Now Act” would also include the uninsured.
- “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,” Kennedy said in a statement.
- A provision capping insulin costs at $35 for Medicare beneficiaries was included as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, but the commercial insurance piece failed to get the support of 60 senators to overcome a filibuster.
- Yet seven Senate Republicans voted to keep the private insurance cap in the bill; Josh Hawley (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Kennedy, Bill Cassidy (La.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska).
- Warnock said he is having conversations with them, but has not picked up their support yet.
- The bill from Warnock and Kennedy is not the only congressional attempt at tackling insulin costs.
- Last year, Collins and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) spent months working on a $35 insulin cap legislation that aimed to lower the overall price rather than just what patients pay. But the legislation did not advance, and the senators have said they plan to introduce it again shortly.
- Three of the leading insulin manufacturers have recently announced their own plans to reduce the price of the drug, including Eli Lilly, and Warnock said he thinks that is momentum that will help move the legislation forward.
- Watch MSNBC clip here.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
- Sen. Raphael Warnock on Thursday introduced a bill to cap insulin costs at $35 per month, but with an important addition: GOP Sen. John Kennedy is now cosponsoring.
- Why it matters: The GOP sponsor could give a boost to Warnock’s effort, which he pushed last year as well.
- Democrats were able to cap monthly costs at $35 per person on Medicare last year. This bill would extend the protection to people on private insurance and the uninsured.
- Between the lines: Kennedy’s support is not a complete surprise, given that he was one of seven GOP senators to vote for the effort last year during the IRA debate.
- But insulin legislation faces a tough path. There is now a GOP House, which has not been welcoming. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers called President Biden’s call for a $35 cap in the State of the Union “socialist.”
- Insulin makers have recently voluntarily lowered their prices, but backers say there is more to do to enshrine lower prices in law.
- What’s next: Warnock indicated to reporters Thursday that Senate leaders haven’t decided whether the measure would get a standalone floor vote or be in a larger package, saying his constituents don’t care how it’s done as long as it passes.
- He said he’s having “ongoing” conversations with other GOP senators.
- What they’re saying: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this month that “it is my hope” bipartisan insulin legislation can pass, without providing details on the path forward.
- Sens. Susan Collins and Jeanne Shaheen are also working to reintroduce a version of their insulin bill. Collins told Axios she is still getting technical assistance from the FDA.
- “We’re continuing to polish the bill, and I hope we’ll be introducing it in the next couple of weeks. It may be after the recess,” she said.
- Asked about that measure, which is broader and includes changes to the rebate system for insulin, Warnock said the bills are “not rivals.”
- “From my perspective at least, we are all on the same team,” he said.
Bloomberg Government: Insulin Cost Caps Draw Congress Support as Companies Pare Prices
Thursday, March 23, 2023
- The cost of insulin remains top-of-mind for senators, even as the largest manufacturers of the drug promise to lower what they charge for their most popular products.
- Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) plan to introduce a bill to cap at $35 per month what people with private insurance and those without insurance pay for insulin, the lawmakers announced Thursday.
- “This is transformational for the folks I’ve been talking to,” Warnock told reporters.
- The bipartisan effort is the latest in a string of bills aimed at reducing insulin costs, a popular stance among consumers. Millions of Americans are dependent on insulin to live, and many find the drug too expensive to afford. About half of people with private insurance say they pay more than $35 per month for a 30-day supply of insulin, a medicine that’s been around in some form for 100 years.
- This year the three largest makers of insulin, Eli Lilly & Co., Novo Nordisk Inc. and Sanofi, all promised to lower the cost of some of their products, down to $30 in some cases for a 30-day supply.
- This cost has drawn the attention of lawmakers for years. Congress late last year moved to cap what people on Medicare pay for insulin at $35 per month. An effort to extend that cap to private insurance failed by only a handful of votes.
- Some analysts say the companies’ moves are meant to avoid hefty rebates they would otherwise owe to states in Medicaid rebates, due to the fact they’ve raised the price of their drugs faster than inflation. For some companies, lowering their prices will net them higher revenue in coming years.
- Warnock said the response from insulin companies show there’s momentum for change. He said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is “in lockstep” with him on wanting a vote on insulin legislation.
- Other Senate leaders are weighing in. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Wednesday he’s turning his attention to insulin prices, hoping to hold a hearing with manufacturers.
- Novo Nordisk executives are aware Sanders plans to hold a hearing and “if asked to participate, we plan to do so,” said Allison Schneider, a company spokeswoman.
- Evan Berland, a spokeman for Sanofi, declined to say if the company would send someone to testify before the HELP Committee, but said “we welcome the opportunity to discuss this work with lawmakers.”