Senate Democrats look to add insulin measures to Schumer-Manchin deal
Senate Democrats are looking at ways to add provisions to lower the cost of insulin into their economic package, according to a Democratic source familiar with the talks.
The move to include insulin measures in the party-line package, which is set to get a vote as soon as next week, comes as a separate bipartisan insulin bill has hit obstacles.
Potential measures to reduce the cost of insulin include a $35-per-month cap on what patients have to pay out-of-pocket for the drug, as well as allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for insulin.
Democrats have pointed to the $35 insulin cap in particular in the past as one of the most tangible benefits for consumers in their economic package.
Both of those measures were in earlier versions of Democrats’ economic package, but they were removed earlier this month amid a separate bipartisan effort from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The Shaheen-Collins insulin effort has faced difficulty in getting the 10 Republican votes needed to pass the Senate, though.
Now, Democrats are looking at including insulin in their party-line measure once again.
“We are looking at the best way to include insulin in reconciliation,” said a Democratic source familiar with the talks.
The Washington Post first reported a potential move to add insulin on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) confirmed the discussions at a press conference Thursday, but did not provide details.
“We will be adding things on insulin to the reconciliation proposal,” he said.
There is some question whether the insulin provisions would pass muster with the complicated Senate rules governing the process Democrats are using to bypass a GOP filibuster.
The bipartisan route from Shaheen and Collins has faced both substantive concerns from some Republicans worried about interfering in the free market, as well as political complications coming amid Democrats’ party-line push.
Shaheen said in a statement Thursday she is not giving up on the bipartisan route, but supports adding insulin elements to the party-line bill.
“I will continue efforts with Senator Collins to address the full scope of the skyrocketing costs to bring relief to American families,” she said.