March 23, 2022

Duckworth Joins Warnock Bill to Cap Costs of Insulin Nationwide


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) signed on as co-sponsor of U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) legislation to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for Illinoisans and all Americans. The Affordable Insulin Now Act would require Medicare plans and private group or individual plans to cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month. This legislation would lower costs for insulin users and save money for hardworking Americans—many who are paying exorbitantly from their own pockets for insulin and other diabetic treatments. According to one estimate, diabetics spend close to $6,000 annually on insulin alone. This is all while costs for insulin are going up and manufacturers of the drug are pocketing more revenue from insulin sales than in prior decades.

“Every time I hear from an Illinoisan who is facing the unbearable decision of either paying for their—or their child’s—lifesaving prescription drugs or paying for rent, the same frustrating question comes to mind: How are we still allowing Big Pharma to have such a stranglehold on our country?” said Duckworth. “No American who relies on insulin should have to ration their medication to afford their bills, and that’s why I’m so proud to join Senator Warnock’s legislation to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 per month.”

“Too many Georgians have or know someone who has diabetes, and too many live with the burden of treating this chronic condition with critical insulin that’s costing them more and more,” said Warnock. “At the same time, special corporate interests are seeing record profits, while everyday people are seeing record prices for drugs like insulin they need to live. I’ve long been focused on strengthening access to affordable health care and lowering costs for Georgians, and that’s why I am proud to lead the effort in the Senate to cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs for insulin. Georgians should never have to choose between paying for life’s basic essentials or life-preserving medicines.”

Under the Affordable Insulin Now Act, private group or individual plans would be required to cover one of each insulin dosage form (vial, pen) and insulin type (rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting) for no more than $35 per month. Medicare Part D plans, both stand-alone drug plans and Medicare Advantage drug plans, would be required to charge no more than $35 for whichever insulin products they cover in 2023 and 2024, and for all insulin products beginning in 2025.

Along with Duckworth and Warnock, this legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

This legislation is endorsed by Protect Our Care, American Diabetes Association, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Teachers, Community Catalyst, Public Citizen and Social Security Works.

The copy of the bill text can be found here.

“For decades, millions of diabetics in this country have had to pay outrageous prices for the medications they need to survive. Even when insulin vials only cost a few dollars to produce, drug companies have hiked the price to hundreds of dollars per month, forcing patients to ration insulin and skip doses altogether — which can have devastating consequences,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Senator Warnock’s bill capping insulin out-of-pocket costs to $35 a month for Americans with insurance will put more money in families’ pockets and give them peace of mind knowing they won’t have to choose between purchasing this life saving medication and putting food on the table. We commend Senator Warnock for his unwavering commitment to fighting for a future where quality, affordable health care is a reality for every American.”