November 28, 2023

Republican senators on Sunday voted down a cap on the price of insulin on the private market, removing it from Democrats’ sweeping climate and economy package.

Democrats tried to keep the provision capping insulin costs at $35 for private insurers, but that vote failed 57-43, with seven Republicans voting with them to keep the insulin cost cap in the bill, three less than needed.

The move was expected following a ruling by the Senate lawmaker, who earlier found that the supply of insulin was not in line with the chamber’s strict fiscal rules. Democrats must comply with those rules to advance the legislation, called the Deflation Act, without Republican votes.

The legislation, however, still includes a $35 fee cap on the price of insulin for seniors on Medicare.

After the vote, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., accused Republicans of bowing to pressure from the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of citizens.

“Republicans just came out in favor of expensive insulin,” Wyden said in a statement. “After years of tough talk about taking insulin makers, Republicans once wilted against the heat from Big Pharma.”

“Thankfully, the $35 insulin cap on Medicare remains in the bill, so seniors will get relief from high insulin costs. I will continue to work to bring lower insulin costs to all Americans,” he added.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana. Susan Collins of Maine? Josh Hawley from Missouri? Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi? and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska joined Democrats in voting to keep the insulin cap on private insurers on Sunday.

Senators worked through the weekend for amendment votes after the House advanced the bill on Saturday by a 51-50 vote, with all Republicans opposing the motion to move the bill forward and Vice Speaker Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

Senate Democrats are seeking to pass legislation on Sunday, bringing long-delayed elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda, including big spending to fight climate change and expanding health care coverage, a step closer to reality. The package will then head to the House, which currently plans to approve it on Friday.

Julia Jester, Ali Vitali, Julie Chirkin and Frank Thorp V contributed.

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