NEW JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Wednesday announced new progress made in the fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs, particularly for the price of insulin, through the Inflation Reduction Act — a great win for making life more affordable for North Jersey families and small businesses.
Beginning in 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act will cap the cost of insulin under Medicare at $35 per month for 5,700 residents from the Fifth District and more than 77,000 residents across New Jersey. This applies to all Medicare beneficiaries, even those who have not met their deductible.
Currently, insulin can cost up to $300 a vial and most people with diabetes need two to three vials per month. Nearly ten percent of Fifth District adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. From 2014 to 2019, the price of insulin rose by 54%, and due to the incredibly high price of insulin, roughly a quarter of diabetic patients skimp or even skip doses altogether — a last resort that can have fatal consequences. 34 million American adults and more than 200,000 children live with diabetes.
If the drug pricing provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act were in place during 2020, the total cost of prescriptions filled by Fifth District residents under Medicare could have been $43 million lower. Savings would have totaled to $13 million in reduced out-of-pocket and premium costs.
“Can you imagine a parent having to ration their children’s lifesaving insulin, or a grandparent not having enough in their pocketbook for their grandchild’s birthday gift because the cost of insulin has bankrupted them? It’s heartbreaking and unacceptable,” Gottheimer said. “That’s why, after far too long, we’ve now taken action in Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and get it signed into law — to lower prescription drug prices, especially for seniors; cap annual out-of-pocket prescription costs at $2,000 under Medicare, cap the cost of insulin at $35-per-month for Medicare beneficiaries, and provide support for families struggling with the high cost of health insurance. I’m calling on the Senate to immediately pass this bipartisan Affordable Insulin Now Act, so that all those on private health insurance, regardless of their age, can also benefit from a $35-per-month insulin cap.”
“Thank you for your dedication to making sure insulin is affordable. I can tell you firsthand that insulin is not affordable for all. These are the reasons why people are making the choice to pay for their rent or pay for their medication, and this should not be a choice,” said Ginine Cilenti, Executive Director of the Diabetes Foundation.
“Thank you, Congressman Gottheimer, for your support for this law that will help people with diabetes. Capping the cost of insulin at $35-per-month is critical for affordability. We have heard too many stories of people who have not been able to afford their insulin, so they give up their food or skip meals,” said Lily Scarlett, Associate Director of Development, Greater NY/NJ, of the American Diabetes Association.
Gottheimer was joined at the Rock Ridge Pharmacy in Glen Rock by Bergen County Commissioner Tom Sullivan, Executive Director of the Diabetes Foundation Ginine Cilenti, Associate Director of Development, Greater NY/NJ, of the American Diabetes Association Lily Scarlett, Rock Ridge Pharmacy owner Vishnu Patel, and Rock Ridge Pharmacy pharmacist Michelle Torpey.
The Inflation Reduction Act will help make life more affordable by:
- Lowering prescription drug prices, especially for seniors.
- Capping annual out-of-pocket prescription costs at $2,000 starting in 2025 under Medicare — helping cut drug costs for thousands in North Jersey.
- Capping the cost of insulin at $35-per-month for Medicare beneficiaries.
- Providing support for families struggling with the high cost of health insurance.
- Reducing health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act.
The Inflation Reduction Act does not raise taxes on individuals, families, or small businesses in North Jersey, and makes no changes to personal income or small business tax rates. The bill is fully paid for and will help pay down the debt. The law amounts to a tax cut of more than $2,300 for every Fifth District family. It will also create jobs, invest in an All-of-the-Above energy plan to lower gas costs, boost alternative energy and domestic manufacturing, go after tax cheats, and make common sense climate investments.
These steps are a part of Gottheimer’s Affordability Agenda for Jersey, which is about getting prices down for families and small businesses and dealing with the impact of the post-COVID economy. It includes taking an All-of-the-Above approach to help get oil and gas prices down, lowering taxes, addressing our supply chain backup, increasing domestic manufacturing, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, and lowering prescription drug costs.
In April, Gottheimer helped pass the bipartisan legislation he cosponsored, the Affordable Insulin Now Act — to cap the price of insulin at $35-per-month for all Americans with diabetes, not just seniors.