Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act Passes, But Senate Republicans Block Insulin Price Cap, Delivering Big Win For Big Pharma

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By Brett Pransky

August 8, 2022

After voting to keep an insulin price cap out of the Inflation Reduction Act, Pat Toomey was one of several Republican Senators calling on the Finance Committee to “evaluate” the measure, a political ruse if ever there was one.

The Senate approved a massive new bill on Sunday. It’s called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and it does a number of very ambitious things:

  • It creates the largest ever US commitment to combat climate change
  • It lowers health care costs.
  • It lowers prescription drug costs
  • It reduces the deficit by roughly $300 billion

The bill pays for the commitments by adjusting the tax code so corporations and the ultra-wealthy have fewer loopholes and pay closer to their fair share of the expense. As one might imagine, a win of this importance for Americans and the current administration infuriates most Republican politicians, so the GOP response has been to try to carve out any piece of the bill they can, and then kill that piece.

They were largely unsuccessful, with one exception: They managed to kill the $35 price cap on insulin for most Americans.

Every Democrat voted in favor of capping insulin costs (as did a few Republicans) but it needed 60 votes to pass, so 43 Republican no votes were enough to kill it.

Shortly after, several of the Republicans who voted no – including Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey – released a statement calling for the Finance Committee to “evaluate” the measure, but anyone who speaks politician knows this for the ruse it almost certainly is.

They killed it. They know killing it will be unpopular. Therefore, a public claim that they are simply “evaluating” it gives them political cover to claim they didn’t do what they just did. It’s a political tactic as old as the Capitol itself.

It is also necessary when 85% of likely voters support capping insulin costs, but Big Pharma makes you vote against it. Next will come several GOP calls for a “study” or a “task force” because that’s how the DC two-step works. Study it until we can find a way to distract from it, then make it go away, perhaps with the help of another story about laptops or emails.

All in all, it was the end of another week in Washington, complete with a number of wins for the people, and one big money grab for the lobbyists.

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