I was invited to Chuck Schumer’s grass roots-diabetes advocates rally yesterday. I was there to speak on behalf of Medicare members who gained a win with the insulin cap of $35/month (per script) going into effect January 1, 2023 under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. And no deductible will apply.
Schumer was there because he fought for this. Advocates were there from JDRF, T1 International’s ‘#Insulin4all’ movement, and others, to show their appreciation, and support for Schumer’s resolve to continue to fight for a cap for those on private insurance and those not insured.
Schumer shared that Republicans voted down the cap for those on private insurance and the uninsured, and I shared that last year the husband brought me back 10 insulin pens from Toronto, where it was 1/10th the price (retail). $21/pen in Canada with no insurance needed. Similar to how insulin is priced in most developed countries. The irony of my Canadian haul is that Canadian scientist Frederick Banting, and his fellow scientists who discovered insulin, sold the patent to the University of Toronto for $1.00 so that everyone would be able to afford it.
I also shared my shock when I discovered four months after going on Medicare I would fall into what’s called the “donut hole.” Insulin would then become as costly to me as if I had no insurance. So I hoarded almost two years worth of insulin. Even past-its-date insulin will generally work.
While this win is a long-awaited victory, the reality is people with type 1, and many with type 2, must use two different insulins/day, making the cap more realistically $70/month. That said, those on Medicare will benefit sizably and those who worked hard for the Medicare cap are to be applauded.
If you want to be part of the push to help bring down the cost of insulin further, and for everyone, you can contact your local senators (including Mr. Schumer) and congress people, and join the ongoing efforts of JDRF and T1 International.