Biden to push for insulin cost caps, but unlikely to secure Congressional approval

By Ahmed Aboulenein

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will call for a nationwide cap of $35 a month on out-of-pocket insulin costs during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, but is unlikely to get his wish as it lacks enough Congressional support.

Democrats failed to pass a similar measure last year when they controlled both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Back then they only needed 10 Republican votes in the U.S. Senate to pass it.

Now that Republicans control the House, its chances are even slimmer, experts say.

“Capping insulin costs for patients is an idea that really resonates with people who are struggling with healthcare costs but it’s highly unlikely to pass in a divided Congress,” said Larry Levitt, Executive Vice President for Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Around 8.4 million of the 37 million people in the United States with diabetes use insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Democrats were able to pass the cap for those enrolled in the government’s Medicare health program for people ages 65 and older last year as part of Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). That kicked in last month.

They tried, and failed, to extend the benefit to everyone with health insurance when they were voting on the IRA.

“This is a very potent talking point, but not something that’s likely to result in actual legislation anytime soon,” said Levitt, a senior health official during the Clinton administration.