- Senate Republicans removed a $35 insulin cap for those with private insurance from the climate and health bill.
- Seven Republicans joined 50 Democrats in trying to keep the provision in the bill, missing three votes.
- The vote was held as part of a “vote-a-rama” as the reconciliation bill makes its way through the Senate.
Senate Republicans on Sunday successfully removed the $35-a-month cap on insulin for many patients as part of the Democratic-led climate, health and tax reconciliation bill moving through the upper chamber.
The insulin cap had been a much-desired policy goal for Democrats, who intended the provision to apply to Medicare patients along with individuals with private insurance.
While GOP lawmakers did not veto the part that applies to Medicare patients, they were able to lift the cap on those using private insurance after talks about a potential bipartisan deal failed earlier this year.
Senate Parliamentarian – who is tasked with analyzing reconciliation bills for PROVIDED that they meet strict procedural rules – ruled that the limit was not in line with what is permissible under the guidelines.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the ranking member on the budget committee, raised a point of order on the insulin cap, arguing that it was inconsistent with the Congressional Budget Act — and therefore would need at least 60 votes to stay. on the larger bill.
In a 57-43 vote, seven Republicans joined 50 Democrats in seeking to keep the provision in the larger bill, missing three votes.
Republican lawmakers who voted to keep the specific provision in the legislation included Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. .
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the finance committee chairman, criticized the GOP-led move.
“Republicans have just gone on the record in favor of expensive insulin,” he said in a statement shortly after the vote. “After years of tough talk about taking over the insulin makers, Republicans have once weakened in the face of heat from Big Pharma.”
He continued, “Thankfully, the $35 insulin payment cap for Medicare insulin remains in the bill, so seniors will get relief from high insulin costs. I will continue to work to provide lower costs of insulin for all Americans.”
Democrats, who control the evenly divided Senate as a result of Vice President Kamala Harris’ narrow vote, are pursuing party-line legislation through the reconciliation process, which would allow them to overcome the 60-vote margin for the biggest bill.
The tax and climate bill — officially called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — would allow a three-year extension of subsidies for individuals to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, while also providing nearly $370 billion for health care programs. climate and energy and 300 billion dollars. to reduce the federal budget deficit.