Republicans Force Removal of Insulin Cap for Private Insurers
Senate Republicans on Sunday forced the removal of a Democratic proposal that would have capped insulin prices for private insurers to $35, even as seven Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in a bid to increase climate provisions, the taxes and health care spending account.
Left untouched as of Sunday morning, however, there was a separate proposal that kept the insulin limit at $35 per month for Medicare patients. More than 3.3 million people on Medicare getting a common form of insulinaccording to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The cap on private insurers was widely seen as a violation of the strict budget rules governing the reconciliation process that Democrats are using to expedite the package and protect it from a Republican filibuster. But the Democrats deliberately didn’t drop the provision and challenged Republicans to vote on the Senate floor to remove it.
“We have a chance to make a difference and permanently limit insulin,” said Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the chair of the Senate health committee. She added: “This shouldn’t be a difficult vote to cast.”
The Republicans instead offered a separate amendment, which the Democrats rejected and rejected as too weak, before South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham challenged the inclusion of the original private-market proposal.
Seven Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus to vote to keep the insulin cap, but the 57 to 43 margin was not enough to meet the 60 vote threshold needed to overturn the challenge. The Republicans were Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Some lawmakers, led by Ms. Collins and New Hampshire Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen, had tried to pass a separate insulin price bill outside of the budget process. But that took 60 votes to advance on the Senate floor, and Sunday’s vote showed there was most likely not enough Republican support for that measure.