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ICYMI: Shaheen & Collins Release Bipartisan Bill to Lower Insulin Costs for 37 Million Americans with Diabetes

**13 leading organizations urge Congressional leadership to pass the INSULIN Act** 

(Washington, DC) – Last month, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) – Co-Chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus – unveiled their bipartisan legislation, the Improving Needed Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act, to lower the skyrocketing costs of insulin. The INSULIN Act builds on Shaheen and Collins’ previous effort, increasing measures to encourage insulin manufacturers to reduce list prices, while extending patient protections that will foster competition and broader access to desperately needed insulin products.  

Last week, thirteen organizations representing more than 37 million Americans with diabetes urged Senate and House leadership to pass the bipartisan INSULIN Act. A one-pager on the legislation is available here, and a section-by-section summary is available here.   

Check out the coverage around the unveiling of the Senators’ new legislation to lower insulin costs below. 

Washington Post: Senators unroll bipartisan plan to curb insulin prices 

  • Top senators unveiled a bipartisan bill Wednesday that aims to curb the high cost of insulin, a lifesaving drug that some Americans have struggled to pay for as prices of the medicine have soared. 
  • “It’s not about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about what can we do to help the American people and those with diabetes who are facing really difficult situations,” [Shaheen] said. 
  • The legislation has won praise from some major diabetes advocacy groups, such as JDRF, an organization funding research into Type 1 diabetes. 
  • “If we can take steps through this legislation to increase access to affordable insulin, it will not only help people with diabetes, it’ll help reduce hospitalizations and reduce kidney disease, things that cost the health-care system and our government a lot of money,” said Cynthia Rice, JDRF’s chief mission strategy officer. 

Politico: Shaheen, Collins Tackle Insulin Costs 

  • The bill seeks to ensure that insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers can’t collect rebates on insulin that limits list price to the 2021 net prices for Medicare Part D or equivalent levels and make insulin eligible for cost-sharing protections, among other proposals. 
  • “For far too long, patients have stretched their budgets, rationed insulin and made difficult personal decisions to keep this drug within reach for themselves or those they love,” said the senators in a statement. “There is support on both sides of the aisle for this proposal and the American people cannot — and should not — have to wait a moment longer for relief.” 

Roll Call: Senators release bill targeting insulin prices 

  • Two key senators are working to build support for a bill aimed at lowering insulin prices and capping monthly copays under commercial and Medicare insurance plans. 
  • “This legislation rightly recognizes the role of insurers and middlemen in determining what people pay at the pharmacy,” Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spokesperson Brian Newell said. 

The Hill: Bipartisan pair of senators unveils bill to lower insulin costs 

  • Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday unveiled legislation aimed at lowering the cost of insulin, seeking a bipartisan breakthrough on one of the highest-profile examples of high drug prices challenging patients.   
  • Shaheen and Collins did try to make their bill broader and more bipartisan than the House legislation by also targeting the overall price of the drug. The measure would eliminate the rebates drug companies pay to negotiators known as pharmacy benefit managers if the drug company kept the overall price of insulin below a certain level.   

Boston Herald: Editorial: Congress must act to cap insulin prices 

  • Few issues within America’s dysfunctional health care system are more pressing than the astronomical price of insulin — access to which is, for millions of Americans, literally a matter of life or death. Congress is finally moving toward approving legislation that would partially address the problem. 
  • Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) last week unveiled a measure that would cap the monthly insulin costs for insured diabetics at $35.  
  • The bill is similar to one the House passed earlier this year, but in addition to capping out-of-pocket patient expenses, it also targets distribution issues that are partly blamed for the price hikes. 

Bloomberg: Diabetics Get Promise of Cap on Monthly Costs in Senate Bill 

  • The new bill offered by New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Maine Republican Susan Collins is the product of months of talks. 
  • The bill aims to counteract the trend of insulin makers steadily increasing what they charge but coupling it with large rebates to maintain preference on insurance networks. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring a bipartisan bill capping the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 per month to the Senate floor soon for a vote. 

Axios: Proposed insulin price cap poses test for Dems 

  • Insulin is a tempting target for pricing reforms. Per-unit U.S. prices for the life-saving medication in the U.S. are seven times those in comparable countries, per the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker. 
  • The Senate plan would encourage manufacturers to cut list prices while preventing insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from collecting rebates on those insulins whose costs are limited to the 2021 net prices for Medicare Part D or equivalent levels. 

Yahoo:  Insulin Price Update: What Latest Bipartisan Bill To Curb Costs Has To Offer Diabetic Americans 

  • In a joint statement issued Wednesday, Sens. Shaheen and Collins said, “This legislation is the result of months of good-faith negotiations and input from lawmakers, advocates and experts,” adding, “It is paramount that Congress act swiftly, which is why we are calling on Senate leadership to bring our legislation to the floor as soon as possible.” 
  • Sens. Shaheen and Collins have been working on a broad insulin bill for a couple of years.