Insulin Bill and Over-Politicized Health Policies


Kristen Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, Online

Kristen Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, Online

“A person’s paycheck should not have to completely cover their medication.”

  On Thursday, March 31, 2022, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would lower the price of insulin to $35. The bill was passed by a 232-193 vote. All of the Democrat representatives voting in support, along with 12 House Republicans.

   Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to control the glucose in one’s bloodstream. For those with Type 1 diabetes, their pancreas does not secrete insulin. In the United States, the average price of insulin per month is $375. Without insurance, the prices can skyrocket as high as $1,000, according to Reuters.

   The Affordable Insulin Now Act was introduced by Democratic Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota in late February. It states that the price of insulin will be decreased to “$35 or 25% of a plan’s negotiated price (after any price concessions), whichever is less, beginning in 2023.”

   “No one should have to ration their insulin to help reduce costs and risk their health and in some cases, actually cost them their lives,” Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone. Pallone is the chair of a health policy committee.

   One reason why the insulin bill had push back from Republicans might be because former President Donald Trump advocated for a similar bill in 2020.

   “Under President Trump’s leadership, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that over 1,750 standalone Medicare Part D prescription drugs and Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage have applied to offer lower insulin costs through the Part D Senior Savings Model,” according to “Part D prescription drug plans will provide Medicare beneficiaries access to a broad set of insulins at a maximum $35 copay for a month’s supply.”

  Although this proposition almost mirrors the recent Affordable Insulin Now Act, it was never passed under Trump’s leadership and was never formally proposed to Congress.

   It is peculiar that lowering the cost of a life-saving medication is a debate. Especially for a disease such as diabetes, which has no definite cure. It is also interesting, as on the following day, the House passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana. The main difference between marijuana and insulin is that insulin is a necessity while marijuana is simply a habit. Although more people in America smoke weed than suffer from diabetes, they choose to use the product. No one chooses to have diabetes.

   Congressman Matt Gaetz, who represents our own district of Florida, had an interesting choice of words regarding insulin. The Congressman suggested that before Congress takes action, diabetics should lose weight.

   “The price of insulin increases as waistlines increase,” Gaetz wrote in a tweet on March 31.

   Congressman Gaetz’s approach to diabetes and insulin prices is insensitive and uneducated. Simply blaming people for being overweight rather than helping them find a solution is not right. Congress is supposed to speak for the people they represent and advocate for their issues, not defy them and make fun of people.

   Diabetes is a disease that people develop later in life, which makes the cost of insulin unexpected. For those without health insurance, the cost of insulin can take a toll on their well-being and lifestyles.

   Diabetics should not have to skip doses to be able to afford their other necessities, such as groceries, mortgages or car payments. A person’s paycheck should not have to completely cover their medication.

   Diabetes is a lifelong disease that costs a lot of money to live with. Some people who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can barely afford their own medical bills. The US Congress is meant to help people have legal solutions to their problems. The cost of a life-saving medication or access to health care should not be a political issue.

   It is up to the Senate to get this bill to President Biden’s desk. As said by JDRF International at the State of the Union, “it is long past time for Congress to act on a bipartisan basis to make this life-saving drug affordable for all.”