Matt Gaetz, one of 193 House Republicans who voted against capping the price of lifesaving insulin at $35 a month for most Americans last week, justified his vote by saying that people with diabetes who use the life-saving drug should lose weight.
In his Friday newsletter, the Florida congressman wrote that his reason for opposing the Democratic-sponsored bill, which passed with the support of a dozen Republicans crossing the aisle, was that obese people drove up the cost of the product, not, as Democrats and activists argue, Big Pharma.
“While the Democratic posturing of HR 6833 victimizes insulin recipients as people with an out-of-control disease being taken advantage of and needing Big Brother to raft them, mass lifestyle changes would rapidly reduce demand and subsequent insulin prices,” Gaetz wrote.
In the United States, more than 37 million people live with diabetes and the majority of these cases – more than 90% – live with type two, while a minority live with type one, an autoimmune disease often diagnosed in childhood.
Diabetes is one of the most expensive chronic diseases to live with in the United States, and it is generally misunderstood as being caused solely by lifestyle factors, but in reality it is influenced by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factorsincluding weight, diet, activity level, genes, epigenetics (gene expression) and even how your body stores fat.
For type one and type two, however, there are millions of Americans who depend on insulin to treat the disease, with some people paying as much as $1,000 a month, even when fully or partially covered by insurance.
To Mr. Gaetz’s voters in Florida, where more than 10% of the state lives with diabetes, he wrote that while he has empathy for those battling the disease, he still cannot support HR 6833, the legal name of the bill that would cap the price of insulin per month at $35 or 25% of a plan’s negotiated price, whichever is lower.
“I will not see a re-emergence of FDR price controls and will join the Democrats in their attempt to pave the way for serfdom,” he wrote.
Gaetz, who cited the CDC’s US diabetes statistic that explains how the majority of the nation’s cases are type 2, continued to blame the spike in insulin prices on the feet of Americans and, as he said, their growing “waistline”. , not the drug makers.
“90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which “can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy foods, and being active,” a- he started.
“Arbitrary price controls do not replace individual weight controls. Since 2000, the number of diabetes cases in the United States has nearly doubled. The demand for insulin increased and the necessary price increase followed. In other words, the price of insulin increases as waist circumference increases.
Reactions online were quick to call the legislators’ stance hypocritical, considering that the passage of such a bill would not change its ability to afford such lifesaving products (if it had any). need), because his health care, as they argued, is paid for by the taxpayers of the country, some of whom voted for him.
This is not the first time that Mr. Gaetz has embarked on the country’s major wars. In August 2021, the Florida lawmaker said he didn’t “fit in” with “Congress Boomer” because he wasn’t old or obese.
“The average age in Congress is 58. The Boomer Congress is actually very vulnerable to Covid,” he said. “As an institution, we are elderly, generally obese and otherwise comorbid. No wonder I don’t fit in.
The bill still has to go through the Senate. And with many Senate Republicans echoing their House counterparts, like Mr. Gaetz, who argue the legislation is modeled after a “Big Brother” style government, it will be an uphill battle to get the at least 10 Republicans of the GOP needed to join the 50 Democrats in signing the bill.