The party had pushed for a measure to be included in their climate and health care package that passed through the House on Sunday and would place a $35 limit on insulin for those on Medicare and with private coverage.
However, the Senate MP decided that extending the cap to the private market was inconsistent with the rules of the reconciliation process, which Democrats used to pass the legislation by a simple majority vote.
Democrats kept the provision in the bill anyway, but Republicans put forward a point of order on Sunday that led to a vote limiting the $35 limit to Medicare beneficiaries only. The final vote was 57-43, with seven GOP senators joining all members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in the vote — but a 60-vote threshold was needed to keep private market supply in place.
The seven GOP senators who supported the provision were Susan Collins of Maine, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.
Democrats have long tried to lower the price of insulin, which has skyrocketed over the years, even though it only costs a few dollars to make. That has forced some Americans to ration the medication, sometimes with fatal consequences.
President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address in March called for the $35 ceiling, and the Democrats included it in their sweeping Build Back Better package, which passed the House last fall before it entered the Senate. came to a stop.
This year, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia introduced a bill that would limit the cost of insulin to $35, as did Collins and Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire in a two-pronged effort. Neither has progressed.
More than 37 million people in the US have diabetes — more than 1 in 10 Americans — although not everyone is aware of it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 7 million people are dependent on insulin.
About one-fifth of those who take insulin and have health insurance through major employers pay more than $35 a month for the medication, according to one analysis
of the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than a quarter of those with an Affordable Care Act policy and nearly a third of those insured through a small employer pay more than that threshold.