Republicans Voted to Not Lower The Cost of Insulin. Now They’re Mad It’s Expensive.

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By Dan Desai Martin

February 25, 2020

The high cost of prescription drugs is one of the top concerns among voters.

Several Republican House members are taking to social media to complain about the high cost of insulin, despite voting twice against legislation designed to rein in its cost.

“The price of insulin has increased 600% in the last two decades — endangering patients whose access to the drug literally is life or death,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) wrote on Thursday.

“Americans with diabetes are paying too much for insulin because no affordable generic alternative to brand insulin is available to them,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) wrote on Jan. 27.

In late December, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) wrote that he supported a partisan, Republican-backed prescription drug bill, noting the high cost of insulin was one issue his legislation would address.

Yet on Dec. 13, Perry, Kelly, and Zeldin voted against the bipartisan Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. That legislation would allow the federal government to negotiate the cost of insulin.

On Dec. 17, all three voted against the Lower Insulin Costs Now Act, which was included in a year-end appropriations bill that passed with bipartisan support.

That legislation, which was signed into law by Donald Trump, will help lower-cost, generic insulin get to patients more quickly, according to Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL), the lead sponsor of the bill.

None of the congressmen responded to a request for comment.

Both Perry and Kelly support the Market Access for Generic Insulin Competition, or MAGIC, Act. The bill currently has the support of only five members of the House, all of whom are Republicans.

Health care affordability and prescription drug costs are the top two issues voters care about in 2020. However, many Republicans in the House have regularly voted against legislation to address both issues, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to hold up legislation that passed over GOP objections.

In 2019, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it is targeting Kelly, Perry, and Zeldin in hopes of expanding the Democratic majority in the House. In January, the group announced it would put $1 million behind ads focusing on health care and prescription drugs, targeting vulnerable Republican members.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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