Subscribe to our Policy NewsletterNY for the latest coverage and to stay informed about the 2021 elections in your district and across New York
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Republicans on Sunday for considering cutting supplies of affordable insulin for diabetics as the Senate begins to consider, and possibly cut, the multibillion bill of Build Back Better dollars that the House passed on Friday.
It has been a tough road for the Build Back Better bill, a framework that aims to provide economic relief through social safety nets as well as tackle climate change, racial equity, civil rights and the immigration reform.
After months of hindsight, the bill was finally able to pass the House on November 19 and should be on the chopping block in the eyes of the Republican opposition.
At a November 21 press conference outside his Midtown office, Schumer pleaded for one of the provisions of the Build Back Better plan to remain intact, which he said could mean the difference between life and death. for many Americans – insulin. Prescription and medical costs have skyrocketed over the years, forcing people who depend on insulin to sometimes ration their medications.
With disgust, Schumer said Republicans were totally opposed to the bill that would provide a safety net for many middle- and low-income Americans, despite broad voter support. A law that regulates insulin prices so that drug costs do not exceed $ 35 is one of the key things he says the GOP will aim to bring down.
Currently, Schumer says the cost of prescribing insulin ranges from $ 200 to $ 600 per vial, an astronomical amount for those on a fixed income or living paycheck to paycheck.
“Tens of millions of Americans depend on insulin,” Schumer said.
This question is close to the senator’s heart, explaining that his stepfather, who worked as a taxi driver, ultimately died of diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the top ten causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – some 87,647 people died from diabetes-related illnesses in 2019.
“We are here today to tell the GOP to fire! Don’t try to try to kill this provision, ”Schumer said,“ Ten years ago, insulin was cheap, easy, and accessible. But all of a sudden it went up 12%, 15%, 17% a year, so now it’s up to $ 600. And it is not a patented medicine. It’s not one of those things that is patented. So there is no reason for the cost to be so high. So today I am announcing that as Majority Leader I will do all I can to keep this provision in the BBB bill and reduce the cost of insulin to $ 35 per injection.
Schumer implores his fellow Republicans to step aside and support this provision like the American Diabetes Association and the Endocrine Society, and the millions of voters who suffer from this disease.
He is hoping the $ 1.7 trillion Build Back Better bill will be passed through the house by Christmas.