The Affordable Insulin Now Act passed largely along party lines in the US House. But a dozen Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats–including one of Iowa’s Republicans.
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who represents Southeast Iowa, sided with Iowa’s lone Democratic House representative, Rep. Cindy Axne, in voting for the bill, HR 6833, which now goes to the Senate.
The bill would cap cost-sharing for insulin under both Medicare and private health insurance at $35 for a month’s supply, or 25% of a plan’s negotiated price, whichever is less. It would go into effect in 2023.
“I’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories from Iowans living with diabetes about the crushing costs of insulin,” Axne said in a release Thursday. “Many have skipped meals or risked their lives by rationing their insulin in order to be able to afford it, and that’s unacceptable.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, the price of the four most-prescribed types of insulin has tripled over the last 10 years. One in four insulin users have said the high cost has impacted their use, from cutting back or skipping doses entirely.
Twenty states plus the District of Columbia have capped copayments on insulin, devices or diabetes supplies. Iowa is not one of them.
Reps. Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra, who represent Northeast and Northwest Iowa, respectively, voted against it.
“Ensuring Iowans can afford insulin is a top priority. But today’s bill raises premiums for over 200 million Americans and sets a precedent that the government can set the price of meds,” Hinson said in a tweet Thursday.
Hinson noted she would instead support House Resolution 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act of 2021. That bill, which Hinson is a cosponsor of, remains in a House committee.
“[It] does help to lower costs for all prescription drugs, including insulin,” Hinson said on a call with reporters Friday morning.
Hinson said during the call that HR19 was “bipartisan,” but all of its 118 cosponsors were Republicans. Similarly, all of HR 6833’s 31 cosponsors were Democrats, who hold a US House majority.
Miller-Meeks did not release a statement about her vote on the bill, and a spokesperson from her office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
By Amie Rivers
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