California Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of a bill to cap insulin prices at $35 creates a harsh dilemma for diabetics, leaving them grappling with exorbitant costs to stay alive.
No Insulin Price Cap
In a move met with disappointment from diabetics across the state, California Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a crucial bill that aimed to set a $35 price cap on insulin.
The passing of this bill had the potential to alleviate the financial burden faced by those in need of this life-saving medication.
The proposed legislation intended to prohibit insurance companies from charging more than $35 for a 30-day supply of insulin, including the coverage of deductibles and co-pays.
It was seen as a beacon of hope for Californians grappling with the soaring costs of managing their diabetes.
Skyrocketing Insulin Bill
Earlier this year, Governor Newsom had announced California’s plans to produce its brand of insulin under the name CalRx as part of a $50 million contract with the non-profit pharmaceutical company Civica Rx.
The state’s initiative aimed to sell a 10-milliliter vial of insulin for just $30, marking a considerable reduction from the inflated prices seen in the market.
Despite these efforts to tackle the issue of skyrocketing insulin costs, Governor Newsom decided to veto the bill.
He defended his decision by emphasizing that “With CalRx, we are getting at the underlying cost, which is the true sustainable solution to high-cost pharmaceuticals.”
Food or Insulin?
Continuing to defend himself, he said, “With co-pay caps, however, the long-term costs are still passed down to consumers through higher premiums from health plans.”
State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat hailing from San Francisco, was the architect of the insulin price cap bill.
He expressed deep disappointment at Newsom’s veto, calling it “a major setback that will keep tens of thousands of diabetic Californians trapped in the terrible choice between buying insulin and buying food.”
Wiener lamented, “This is a missed opportunity that will force them to wait months or years for relief from the skyrocketing costs of medical care when they could have had it immediately.”
Vital to Stay Alive
The significance of affordable insulin cannot be overstated.
Insulin is a vital hormone produced by the pancreas and is responsible for converting sugar into energy.
For those with diabetes, the challenge lies in the body’s inability to produce sufficient insulin.
This is especially true for individuals with type 1 diabetes, who rely on insulin to survive.
The battle against high insulin costs in California gained momentum earlier this year when the state’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, filed a lawsuit against the companies that dominate the insulin market.
Unlawfully Inflating the Price
The lawsuit accused these manufacturers of colluding to unlawfully inflate insulin prices, worsening the financial hardship faced by diabetic individuals.
In a surprising turn of events, some of the leading insulin manufacturers announced a voluntary reduction in the prices of their products in March.
This development offered a glimmer of hope to those who had long struggled with the financial strain of managing their diabetes.
However, Governor Newsom’s veto of the insulin price cap bill appears to be a substantial setback, leaving many diabetics in the state to confront the ongoing crisis of unaffordable insulin.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ringo Chiu