The US Congress is failing in its plan to cut insulin costs

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United States Senate Majority Leader chuck schumer announced this week a vote on a bill that would cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for people with health insurance. While this bill could help millions of underinsured people in the United States who are struggling with high insulin costs, Congress should also protect those without health insurance.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act, introduced last week by Senator Reverend Warnock of Georgiacap copayments on insulin products covered at $35 per month. The bill provides essential protections for patients under public and private health plans, but does not address the uninsured.

More than a third of U.S. households don’t have enough savings to cover the unexpected $400 costs. Yet the most commonly prescribed forms of insulin can cost more than $300 for a single bottle.

In the United States, the uninsured are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. For those who are not eligible for Medicaid, high insulin prices can be devastating, forcing them to make impossible choices between covering different basic needs. Even with health insurance, especially high-deductible health plans, people can face exorbitant co-payments and fees that make their medications unaffordable.

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To come up Human Rights Watch report documents this insulin affordability crisis. Many people have spoken to me about the rationing of physically damaging and life-threatening drugs due to out-of-pocket costs, showing that the high price of insulin in the United States is not only paid for in dollars, but with health, life and livelihood.

Under international human rights law, everyone has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to health care without discrimination, regardless of income. The US government must address the current affordability crisis by passing key reforms such as the Build Back Better Act, which would ensure affordable access to essential medicines by lowering drug prices and expanding drug systems. state-funded health insurance.

The proposed insulin bill is a positive step, but fails to address fundamental problems with the nation’s health care system and, for many, fails to prevent an all-too-common dilemma summed up by someone addicted to insulin I recently interviewed: “You either indulge or die.”

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