MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill limiting the out-of-pocket costs for insulin to $35 a month.
It's part of a yearslong effort that's been going, with mixed results, to help cut the costs of prescription drugs.
The bill was sponsored by Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 390,000 people in the state -- that is 8.8% of the population -- has type 1 diabetes.
This proposal was supposed to be part of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better social agenda program, which the president could not get enough votes for in the Senate. So Democrats are trying to get the legislation passed one piece at a time. For Democrats, the insulin bill would be one of the first steps in a larger strategy of lowering overall prescription costs by having Medicare negotiate drug prices.
Craig, the sponsor of the House bill, was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.
"I led the fight in the budget process last year to make sure that Medicare price negotiation finally could begin in this country. It's just ridiculous that the largest purchaser of health care, Medicare in the United States, can't negotiate for its drug pricing," she said.
Most Republicans disagree. They say that having Medicare negotiate drug prices is a mistake, because it would decrease innovation and drug company research, which could mean fewer new drugs that could provide treatments.
The House vote on insulin was mostly along party lines with all three Minnesota Republicans members of Congress voting no. The insulin cost cutting bill now goes on to the U.S. Senate where it's not clear if it can pass. Senate sponsors include senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
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