Alex Henderson Health Politics Voting

‘A Vehement Backlash’: North Carolina Senators Blasted by Constituents for Opposing $35 Insulin Cap

Jackson A. Lanier, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Alex Henderson / AlterNet

On Sunday, August 7, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a $750 billion package addressing energy, climate change, health care and taxes. The bill passed 51-50 via the process known as budget reconciliation, allowing the Senate’s narrow Democratic majority to bypass the 60-vote rule of the filibuster. Now, the bill will go to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration, and Democrats are optimistic that it will pass in the House and make it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Both of North Carolina’s Republican U.S. senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, voted against the bill. Journalist Danielle Battaglia, in an article published by the Raleigh News and Observer on August 8, stresses that they are facing a “vehement backlash” in their state for, during debates on the bill, opposing a proposal to limit how much private insurance companies can charge for the insulin used by diabetics.

“Debate on the bill began Saturday morning and stretched into Sunday,” Battaglia explains. “Senators went back and forth on numerous amendments, but one subjected Burr and Tillis to vehement backlash from their constituents: a $35 cap on insulin from private insurance companies…. Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough — who serves as the chamber’s official adviser and rule keeper — deemed an insulin price cap for private insurers a violation of the Senate’s rules for the reconciliation process to pass the bill on a bare majority. Senate Democrats sought to overrule MacDonough’s decision in a vote that needed 60 supporting members.”

Battaglia adds, “The New York Times reported that, despite the rule violation, Democrats ‘dared’ Republicans to vote against the cap by keeping the provision in the bill. Tillis and Burr rarely cave to such political pressure. Both voted against capping insulin costs along with 43 other Republicans, forcing the provision to fail.”

Senate Democrats forced Burr, Tilllis and other Republicans to go on the record about whether or not they believed a $35 insulin cap should be part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — and both of them are being lambasted for, critics say, throwing diabetics under the bus.

“Several people took to social media Sunday and Monday ridiculing the North Carolina Senators for their ostensible apathy toward insulin users,” Battaglia reports. “The posts and tweets were laced with profanity. North Carolina’s Democratic Party spokeswoman Ellie Dougherty capitalized on the social media climate.”

Battaglia quotes Dougherty as saying, “While President Biden and Democrats are working day in and day out to lower the cost of prescription drugs, reduce the deficit and fight rising costs without raising taxes a single penny on middle class families, Burr and Tillis’ vote underscores the GOP’s commitment to protecting Big Pharma and special interests over easing costs for North Carolina families.”

Cheri Beasley, the Democratic nominee in North Carolina’s 2022 U.S. Senate race, was quick to lambast Burr and Tillis on Twitter. On August 7, Beasley tweeted, “Both NC senators just voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which would lower costs at a time when millions of families are struggling. North Carolinians deserve more. As Senator, I will always fight for the people — not cower to corporate special interests…. Senator Burr and Tillis’ votes today were inexcusable.

Alex Henderson

Alex V. Henderson is a veteran journalist who covers political, social, business, legal and financial topics as well as arts and entertainment. His topics have included civil liberties, the economy, poverty, unemployment, the War on Drugs, health care reform, corporate responsibility, U.S. foreign policy, the Prison/Industrial Complex, climate change and the environment. He also has considerable experience with technical writing, copy and content and editing/proofreading projects.

Henderson’s work has appeared in a long list of publications that includes Salon, AlterNet, The Raw Story, The L.A. Weekly, Truthdig, Skin Two, The National Memo, XBIZ, The Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, Mint Press News, The Pasadena Weekly and Sexual Health Magazine.

4 comments

  1. All the “Inflation Reduction Act” accomplishes is adding 87 thousand IRS agents to be used to further turn the screws on the middle class. If you think even for one moment that even one of them will audit the rich and powerful, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Anybody who thought there was ever a chance in hell that there would be any legislation lowering prescription drug costs needs to wake up and get with the program. We don’t do things like that anymore. We haven’t done anything like that in a long long time.

    Pay up and shut up, that is the way of it.

    1. Agreed. This is just more stunts for the upcoming midterms. Always miraculous how a Party in control of the Presidency, Senate and House can do nothing for 1 1/2 years (as Obama and Trump did as well), then throw us some crumbs with fawning praise from the media. All show and no substance, but all we will get until the summer of 2024.

  2. Dr. Banting must be spinning in his grave, the discoverer of insulin at the U of T in Toronto. He could have been greedy and rich but said the discovery was useless if only the rich could get it! Insulin was to be made and sold at cost and a small profit for handling etc. Eli Lily got the rights for the USA and Connaught Labs in Canada. In the meantime big pharma always wanted to get around Bantings gift and succeeded years ago with synthetic insulin instead of the beef and pork type. The price went through the roof and the beef and pork insulin was taken off the market. I know from experience because I am diabetic and the insulin I was using cost about ten to twenty dollars a month, the synthetic style was a hundred and fifty a month and is even more now and that is in Canada where there is some price control. The change came without warning, when I went to the drug store they informed me the beef and pork Lente insulin was no longer available. Sadly Connaught labs a non profit was busted up by Mulroney in a deal with big pharma and their tentacles tightened around Canadian drug production. When Covid broke out Canada was out of vaccine production! Big pharma is a fine example of corporate greed and psychopathic reasoning. Like the Robber Barons before them its “Damn the public and charge what the traffic will bear!” Now scientists like Banting are being bribed and corrupted not for the good of all but the profit for the few, Banting was one of the few that resisted only to be betrayed by the USA courts that said synthetic insulin didn’t fall under Banting’s instruction

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