Biden: ‘No one should suffer or die because they cannot afford insulin’
President Joe Biden promises to reduce the price of insulin and other prescription drugs after his visit to the Pacific Northwest on Friday.
“Nearly 1 million Americans will see their coverage become more affordable,” President Biden said in his speech at Green River College in Auburn. “We’re all laser focused on lowering the cost for you and your families across the board. And a big way to do that is to lower the cost of health care, especially in the area of prescription drugs.”
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Over 31 million Americans have health care under the Affordable Heath Care Act, according to the President, including approximately 900,000 across Washington State.
“The average family today, since we passed that law in our administration, are saving $2,400 in annual premiums and getting better coverage,” Biden said. “That’s $200 savings every month, allowing them to have more money available for other needs in their lives; with inflation with Putin’s gas tax; with the groceries because of the the loss of access to the wheat fields in Russia and in and in Ukraine.”
The law referenced in Biden’s speech is the American Rescue Plan, specific legislation that was passed within his first month in office to not only curb the COVID-19 pandemic, but to increase health care coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act.
Biden stressed that the Affordable Health Care Act is stronger than ever, and will continue to grow throughout the rest of his term as president.
Biden and his administration’s overarching health care goals are not without its retractors. Republican representatives have already voiced their concerns over doubling down on the Affordable Health Care Act.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said. “They continue to attack the Affordable Care Act and want to eliminate it. They’re unrelenting. Over 70 attempts to repeal the law by Republicans in Congress. 70 times.”
President Biden cites a statement from Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that if Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives, the party should repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.
“12 years later, Republicans still haven’t stopped their attacks on this life saving law,” Biden said.
Republicans have opposed to the law since its inception, citing unfair tax penalties, the Shared Responsibility Payment, and high premiums and deductibles that are not affordable to the average American, according to Chief Justice John Roberts.
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Biden was introduced by Elisa Graceffo and her daughter, Juliana, two Washington residents who shared a personal story about the latter’s Type-1 Diabetes diagnosis and their struggles to afford insulin.
“One of my philosophies in life, which I try to impart to my children, is that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade,” Elisa said. “Our family has been involved in raising awareness and funds for type one diabetes research to help prevent, treat and cure Type-1 since shortly after Juliana was diagnosed. But it’s hard to make lemonade when the cost of some of the ingredients can be so high and steadily increase.”
The most commonly used forms of insulin costs 10 times more in the U.S. than in any other developed country, according to the Mayo Clinic. One vial of Humalog (insulin lispro), which used to cost $21 in 1999, cost $332 in 2019, reflecting a price increase of more than 1,000%.