Bernie Sanders Wants to Cap Insulin Prices at $20 per Vial

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  • Legislation passed in 2022 makes insulin less costly for Medicare recipients, but Americans with private insurance or no insurance won't benefit from these changes.
  • Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Cori Bush introduced the Insulin for All Act of 2023, hoping to cap the list price of insulin at $20 per vial for all Americans who need the life-saving drug.

While some progress has been made to make insulin more affordable, more needs to be done.

Due to the high cost of healthcare in the United States, many Americans struggle to afford medical expenses. Those with serious health concerns like diabetes may have to cut out other necessary expenses to afford their life-saving medications. Bernie Sanders recently introduced legislation to make insulin more affordable for people with diabetes.

Bernie Sanders wants to do more to lower costs

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee chairman, and Congresswoman Cori Bush recently introduced legislation to make insulin affordable for more Americans, so no one has to ration their insulin due to financial concerns. The Insulin for All Act of 2023 aims to cap the list price of insulin at no more than $20 per vial.

In a March 9, 2023 press release, Sen. Sanders said, "There is no reason why Americans should pay the highest prices in the world for insulin -- in some cases, 10 times as much as people in other countries."

Congresswoman Bush noted," As a nurse, I've seen too many people in our communities struggle to afford their life-saving insulin medication. People are left choosing between insulin or groceries; insulin or rent; insulin or child care. This is unacceptable."

More than 7 million people throughout the United States rely on insulin. In 2022, 1.3 million Americans were forced to ration insulin because of the high cost. This proposed legislation could help more Americans afford this necessary drug if passed. However, it's unlikely that the Republican-led House of Representatives will support this measure.

Some progress has been made to reduce insulin prices

Some progress has been made in reducing the costs of insulin. In his 2023 State of the Union Address, President Bident called on Congress to do more to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for all Americans. While the Inflation Reduction Act capped insulin prices for Medicare recipients, consumers without insurance or with private insurance didn't benefit.

On March 1, 2023, manufacturer Eli Lilly announced it would reduce the list price of its most commonly prescribed insulin by 70%. Out-of-pocket costs will be capped at $35 at participating pharmacies for those with commercial insurance. People with no insurance can download the Lilly Insulin Value Program savings card to receive Lilly insulins for $35 a month.

In 2022, legislation was passed that capped out-of-pocket insulin costs for Medicare Part D and Part B recipients. The Inflation Reduction Act requires Medicare monthly insulin costs to be capped at $35. This will help many seniors keep more money in their checking accounts.

The fight continues to make insulin affordable for all

Hopefully, more progress will be made to reduce out-of-pocket insulin costs for the average American. No one should have to go without medication -- but many do. According to a 2022 Policygenius study, 32% of Americans with health insurance said the prescription costs prevented them from taking the full dose of prescribed medication. That's a terrifying statistic.

It's not uncommon for Americans to struggle to afford their prescriptions. Many people rely on resources like GoodRx to save money on prescription drug costs. The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company has also become a valuable resource for Americans looking to save money. The online pharmacy hopes to offer low-cost insulin to the public as soon as possible.

If you're going through a difficult financial situation, please know you're not alone. Many Americans are on a tight budget and struggle to afford everyday living costs. If you're looking for more ways to save money, check out our personal finance resources.

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