Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) joined Protect Our Care to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, which made health care premiums more affordable than ever. The senators also discussed the steps Congress can take now to further lower Americans’ health care costs, including capping insulin prices, giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, and keeping health care premiums low.
Senator Warnock introduced new legislation that would limit out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 per month for millions of diabetics with insurance. Lowering insulin costs is an essential step to drive down health care costs and put more money in working families’ pockets. If passed, these measures could put thousands of dollars in working families’ pockets and make health care affordable at a time when patients need relief most.
“While Senate Republicans propose destructive plans like ripping away health care from millions of Americans, I am standing on the side of working families to expand access to quality, affordable health care, and lower the cost of prescription drugs, like insulin,” said Senator Baldwin. “No one should lay awake at night wondering if the health care they have today will be gone tomorrow, and no one should go bankrupt just to get the medication they need to live a healthy life. We need to lower costs for people and cap the price of insulin at $35, so millions of Americans have the medicine they need at a price they can afford.”
“I’ve been fighting to improve Georgians’ access to affordable, quality health care long before I got into office. The American Rescue Plan, which lowered premiums and increased health care access for Georgians, was the first of many solutions that I’ve fought for in the Senate. In the past year, I’ve introduced legislation to cap the price of insulin at $35 a month and lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. I’ve also fought to close the Medicaid coverage gap, and provide free and affordable coverage to over 640,000 Georgians, said Senator Warnock. I’m grateful to Protect Our Care, today’s storytellers, Teresa and Mary, and my partner in this important fight, Senator Baldwin. As Georgians and Americans work to recover from the pandemic, I’m going to keep fighting to make sure the federal government is doing its part to lower rising costs for hardworking Georgia families and small businesses.”
“I’m on Medicare, and I’ve been taking two insulins daily for the past few years. The first full year I was on Medicare, I found that because of the high retail cost of insulin, that after only a few months into the year, I fell into the donut hole,” said Mary Jonker, patient storyteller from Wisconsin. “I was told that my copay for my insulin after I went into the donut hole would be $850 for a three month period. So many people around this country are having the same problem. They’re deciding between insulin or food. They’re deciding whether to take their insulin every other day. I would like to thank Senator Baldwin and Senator Reverend Warnock for helping to ease the financial burdens on Americans purchasing insulin.”
“My 12-year-old, Bauer, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes just after his 6th birthday,” said Teresa Acosta, patient storyteller from Georgia. “When the pandemic hit, I had to be laid off. I was scared to be losing my income and health insurance in the middle of a pandemic, but thanks in part to the American Rescue Plan’s child tax credits and increased ACA premium subsidies, my family and I were able to keep our heads above water. I ended up enrolling my family on a plan through the Healthcare Marketplace exchange. This was a subsidized plan, which made it possible to afford insulin and the technology we rely on to keep Bauer healthy. The way I see it, the health care measures in the American Rescue Plan not only rescued me but invested in me, allowing me to follow my American Dream and start a business.”
“A year ago, President Biden signed the historic American Rescue Plan to improve our nation’s health and economic wellbeing by putting money in people’s pockets, strengthening our economy, and tackling the high health insurance costs. Since then, a record 14.5 million Americans enrolled in affordable health insurance through the ACA, and families are saving an average of $2,400 a year on their care,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “However, the work is not finished. We must continue lowering health care costs by passing legislation to reduce the cost of insulin, give medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices and make the American Rescue Plan’s health care provisions permanent.”