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Matt Gaetz Says Overweight Folks Responsible for High Insulin Prices

Matt Gaetz Says Overweight Folks Responsible for High Insulin Prices

In an attempt to justify his vote against the Affordable Insulin Now Act that passed the House last week, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said “lifestyle changes en masse” such as losing weight rather than government legislation were the way to drive down demand and prices for insulin.

According to a report in Mother Jones, Gaetz wrote in a newsletter to supporters that people with Type 2 diabetes should focus on “losing weight, eating healthy, and being active” to reduce the demand for insulin, which increases the price of the product.

“Arbitrary price controls are no substitute for individual weight control,” Gaetz wrote in the newsletter obtained by Mother Jones. “Since 2000, the number of diabetes cases in the U.S. has nearly doubled. The demand for insulin has increased and the requisite price increase has followed suit. In other words, the price of insulin increases as waistlines increase.”

Gaetz was one of 193 House Republicans to vote against the measure, which passed with the support of 12 of Gaetz’s fellow Republicans. The bill would cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month for those with private health insurance. Critics of the bill point out the cap only applies to individuals with private health insurance and those without health insurance would be left to pay prices that can skyrocket to $1,000 a month. The bill also does not limit the amount health insurers can charge to patients who use providers who are not part of their network.

In his newsletter to supporters, Gaetz called the bill little more than a misguided publicity stunt and said folks with diabetes would be better served by going on a diet.

“While Democrat posturing of H.R. 6833 victimizes insulin payees as people with an uncontrollable disease that are being taken advantage of and need Big Brother to throw them a raft, lifestyle changes en masse would expeditiously lower demand and the subsequent prices of insulin,” Gaetz wrote. “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 food, and being active.’”

According to the CDC, over 37 million Americans or roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population, suffer from diabetes and Gaetz is correct in stating 90-95 percent suffer from Type 2 diabetes. However, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes Type 2 diabetes can be caused by several factors including lifestyle and genetics. While folks who are overweight or physically inactive are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, naturally developed insulin resistance and the genetic history of an individual’s family can also contribute to a diagnosis. Type 1 diabetes is far less common and happens when the body begins destroying the insulin-creating beta cells of the pancreas.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act now moves to the Senate where its passage is less certain. The bill would require 10 Republican to break ranks to prevent a possible filibuster and advance the bill to a vote by the full Senate.

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