Why don’t Republicans want this kid to have affordable insulin? | Editorial – NJ.com

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address (Saul Loeb | Pool via AP)AP
To the Republicans who are lockstep opposed to President Joe Biden’s proposal to reduce prescription drug prices: Meet Joshua Davis, the little boy you are hurting, along with countless others like him.
The 13-year-old, who stole the spotlight at Biden’s State of the Union speech last week, has been dependent on insulin since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby and is fighting to make the drug more affordable. So why are Republicans blocking the bill that would do that?
Why are they overwhelmingly rejecting Biden’s proposal to cap the cost of insulin to $35 a month for those with insurance, as part of his Build Back Better Act? Why are they killing his agenda to tamp down on the astronomical cost increases of other prescription drugs too – a reform demanded by millions?
“Imagine what it’s like to look at your child who needs insulin to stay healthy, and have no idea how in God’s name you’re going to be able to pay for it,” the president said in his speech.
He was preaching to the choir: A recent Pew Research poll shows that 61% of Americans—69% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans — say reducing healthcare costs is the No. 2 government priority, second only to fixing the economy.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October found 83% of Americans support allowing the government to negotiate drug prices, as Build Back Better would do; a reform chiefly sponsored by New Jersey’s own Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th) to lower the prices of prescription drugs.
And let’s be clear: Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va) did not single-handedly block this bill. He had the help of every single Republican senator. If just a few Republicans were willing to come on board, the reform could pass right now. So what’s stopping them?
Big Pharma, that’s what – and it makes up for what it lacks in public support by investing heavily to secure the support of lawmakers in Congress. As part of its lobbying campaign, it threatens it will no longer make cutting-edge drugs if we allow the government to negotiate better deals. Americans will forgo hundreds of new cures, it claims.
Nonsense. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found any potential impact on new drugs entering the market would be miniscule. And last week, Biden took the opportunity to remind everyone what is actually at stake, ahead of the midterm elections: Americans pay more than people in any other country for prescription drugs. So why won’t Republicans pass this legislation to allow our government to negotiate their cost?
Patients like Joshua and his father, who also has Type 1 diabetes, are held hostage to these exorbitant prices. “Insulin costs about $10 a vial to make. That’s what it costs the pharmaceutical company,” Biden noted. “But drug companies charge families like Joshua and his dad up to 30 times that amount.”
Republicans fighting Biden on this: Do you not think this little boy should have affordable insulin? Then tell his parents – a substitute teacher and a speech pathologist – and millions of other middle class Americans why you still stand with the big drug companies that gouge them.
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