VERIFY: Did Biden improve the price of insulin in his first week?
Some media outlets, politicians, and social media users claim that President Joe Biden raised the cost of insulin during his first week in the Oval Office.
INDIANAPOLIS – During the campaign, he promised to cut the cost of prescription drugs.
But now some media outlets, politicians, and social media users claim that President Joe Biden raised the cost of insulin in his first week in the Oval Office.
A headline on FOX News said, “The Biden Administration Freezes Trump-HHS Rule To Lower Insulin Prices.” A Twitter post with more than 1,400 likes said, “Biden is intentionally raising insulin prices,” and hundreds of other tweets claim Biden “raised the price of insulin.” Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn) asked on social media, “Why does President Biden want to raise insulin prices for Americans?”
So it’s no wonder our VERIFY team gets a lot of questions, like one from Jason, who wrote, “Has Biden’s HHS frozen Trump’s plan to cut insulin costs?”
The answer to this question is YES. In his first week in office, President Biden’s administration frozen a plan endorsed by the Trump administration to cut insulin costs.
However, many of the social media posts on this topic are misleading or just plain wrong because they lack important context. Here’s what you need to know:
The White House Communications Office, the US Department of Health, and the National Association of Community Health Centers
What we found
On his first day in office, President Biden announced a regulatory freeze review through a press release from his Chief of Staff Ron Klain. The announcement, which has been sent to all federal agencies, has frozen any new regulations that President Trump signed in the final days of his tenure, affecting new regulations that had not yet come into effect. The freeze lasts 60 days for the new administration to review.
One of the frozen rules includes a health and social services ordinance that would force community health centers to pass on the 340B program’s discounts on insulin to low-income patients. The rule was supposed to go into effect on January 22nd, but has been postponed until the end of March.
There is debate as to whether the Trump administration’s proposal would really help cut insulin costs, and whether it is even needed.
A US health and social services press release last summer said an executive order signed by then-President Trump would “require state-qualified health centers that buy insulins and adrenaline under the 340B program to take advantage of savings from discounted drug prices to pass on directly to medically underserved patients. “The statement said the rule set in the Trump administration plan would” improve access to life-saving insulin and adrenaline for patients who are particularly costly among the 28 million patients they visit [federally qualified health centers] each year.”
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HHS finalized the rule in late December. However, in publishing this final rule, HHS acknowledged that “the economic impact is likely to be minimal,” as the vast majority of patients receiving insulin from community health centers are already on discounted medication. In some cases, these patients can get a one-month supply of insulin for as little as $ 7, according to the report published on the Federal Register.
And the National Association of Community Health Centers confirmed for VERIFY that its member health centers are already passing their heavily discounted drug prices on to the low-income families they serve.
“Her entire mission for 55 years has been to provide low-cost prescriptions and services to low-income families,” said Amy Simmons Farber, vice president of media relations at NACHC, who also said the community health centers opposed the Trump administration plan. “The Executive Order was a slap in the face because we were already a low-cost, high-priced alternative to prescription drugs. The executive ordinance has just created massive bureaucratic burdens. That’s not a good rule. “
Freezing the Biden administration will not affect any new insulin discount that went into effect on January 1st. With this discount, announced last year by President Trump and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, seniors who sign up for an extended Medicare plan can get a discount on 30-day insulin care for $ 35. To receive the discount, seniors must be on a Medicare Medication Plan (Part D) or a Medicare Benefit Plan (with medication coverage) that takes part in the insulin-saving model. Therefore, only those individuals who are willing to pay for the extended coverage can receive the USD 35 price cap.
So we can check if the Biden government has frozen a new rule requiring community health centers to pass insulin discounts on to their patients.
We can also verify that several claims that President Biden is raising the price of insulin are false. The 60-day regulatory freeze does not cause insulin prices to rise in community health centers, and there is no evidence that the rule would further reduce insulin costs in facilities that already offer significant drug discounts.
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