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Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress say they want to pass bills controlling prescription drug costs, especially for the diabetes drug insulin.
It’s no wonder, considering a March survey by KFF — the San Francisco nonprofit health news source of the Kaiser Family Foundation — showed 61 percent of Americans say limiting drug price hikes to the cost of inflation should be a “top priority” of Congress. Thirty-five percent of survey respondents said capping out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 a month should be top of mind for the U.S. House and Senate.
More than 37 million Americans have diabetes. Insulin is a lifesaving drug that helps diabetes patients keep blood sugar levels within a safe range. New types of insulin products have contributed to a rapid rise in costs for the drug, Forbes reported.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn on April 1 decried U.S. Reps. Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra, both Republicans, for voting against legislation that would cap insulin copays.
“Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra’s votes against capping insulin costs are yet another example of Iowa Republicans putting corporations’ profit margins ahead of the needs of working families,” Wilburn said in a statement.
The Iowa Democrats tweeted a similar statement.
Wilburn’s statement went on to say Hinson and Feenstra “are blocking relief for working Iowans so pharmaceutical CEOs will pour money into their campaigns.” The Fact Checker can’t check the motivations of elected officials, but we can verify how Iowa’s congressional delegation voted on the insulin bill.
The Affordable Insulin Now Act passed the U.S. House March 31 by a vote of 232-193, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats, NPR reported. The bill caps out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 a month, or 25 percent of a plan’s negotiated price, whichever is less, beginning in 2023.
Hinson, who represents Iowa’s 1st District in the state’s northeastern quadrant, and Feenstra, whose territory is the 4th District in northwest Iowa, both voted against the bill.
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist who leads Iowa’s 2nd District in southeast Iowa, was one of the 12 Republicans who voted for the bill. Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat who leads Iowa’s 3rd district, also voted for the legislation.
House Republicans have said they didn’t support the $35-a-month cap on insulin cost-share because they are hoping for a broader bill controlling prescription drug costs.
The U.S. Senate now is considering such a bill, Kaiser Health News reported. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is helping craft a bipartisan compromise in the Senate, noted the House bill wouldn’t help the uninsured because it didn’t address the high list price of insulin.
Hinson told Radio Iowa she didn’t vote for the House insulin bill because she said it will raise premiums as companies try to recoup lost profit, and gives the government too much control over the private sector.
Wilburn, an Iowa senator from Ames, was right Hinson and Feenstra voted against the bill. The motivation he ascribed to their positions, however, could not be measured. We give his claim solely on the vote an A.
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Members of the Fact Checker team are Elijah Decious, Erin Jordan, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm. This Fact Checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan.