Fact Checker: Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra’s Insulin Co-Pay Votes

Democratic State Rep. Ross Wilburn of Ames speaks June 4, 2020 at the Statehouse in Des Moines. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Democrats and Republicans in Congress say they want to pass bills controlling prescription drug costs, particularly for the diabetes drug insulin.

That’s no wonder, considering a March survey by KFF — the Kaiser Family Foundation’s nonprofit San Francisco health information source — showed that 61% of Americans say they limit Drug price hikes at the cost of inflation should be a “top priority” of Congress. Thirty-five percent of survey respondents said capping personal insulin spending at $35 per month should be a priority for the U.S. House and Senate.

More than 37 million Americans have diabetes. Insulin is a life-saving medication that helps diabetic patients maintain their blood sugar levels within a safe range. New types of insulin products have contributed to rapidly rising drug costs, Forbes reported.

On April 1, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn decried U.S. Representatives Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra, both Republicans, for voting against legislation that would cap insulin co-payments.

“Ashley Hinson’s and Randy Feenstra’s votes against insulin cost caps are another example of Republicans in Iowa putting corporate profit margins ahead of the needs of working families,” Wilburn said. in a press release.

Iowa Democrats tweeted a similar statement.

Wilburn’s statement went on to say that Hinson and Feenstra are “blocking aid for workers in Iowa for pharmaceutical CEOs to pump money into their campaigns.” The Fact Checker cannot verify the motives of elected officials, but we can verify how the Iowa congressional delegation voted on the insulin bill.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives on March 31 by a vote of 232 to 193, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats, NPR reported. The bill caps insulin costs at $35 per month, or 25% of a plan’s negotiated price, whichever is less, beginning in 2023.

Hinson, who represents Iowa’s 1st district in the northeast quadrant of the state, and Feenstra, whose territory is the 4th district of northwest Iowa, both voted against the bill. .

Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor who leads Iowa’s 2nd District in southeast Iowa, was one of 12 Republicans who voted for the bill. Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat who leads Iowa’s 3rd District, also voted for the legislation.

House Republicans said they did not support the $35-a-month cap on insulin cost-sharing because they hoped for a broader bill controlling prescription drug costs.

The US Senate is now considering such a bill, Kaiser Health News reported. U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is helping craft a bipartisan compromise in the Senate, noted the House bill would not help the uninsured because it did not address the high list price of insulin.

Hinson told Radio Iowa that she did not vote for the House insulin bill because she said it would increase premiums as companies try to claw back lost profits and give the government too much control over the private sector.

Conclusion

Wilburn, an Iowa senator from Ames, was right Hinson and Feenstra voted against the bill. The motivation he attributed to their positions, however, could not be measured. We give his claim only on an A vote.

Criteria

The Fact Checker team verifies statements made by an Iowa political candidate or office holder or national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in political or public advertisements that appear on our marketplace.

Claims must be independently verifiable. We assign statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim that you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette.com.

The members of the Fact Checker team are Elijah Decious, Erin Jordan, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm. This fact checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan.

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