New Inflation Reduction Act will make insulin affordable for 3 million Americans

For those who have diabetes, many know the struggle of paying for insulin.

"This can be $125 per pen at the pharmacy," said Dr. Paul Thomas. "In the United States there’s seven million people who need to take insulin and 25 percent of those cannot afford the insulin, they need to manage their diabetes."

For Raphael Wright, that stress hits close to home. A Detroit entrepreneur — Wright says at first he didn't have health insurance. He says his out-of-pocket cost for insulin used to be around $300 a month.

"It was a punch in the gut, I did not feel good," he said. "I am on the fringe because now I'm worried about getting my lights cut out. You need electricity to keep insulin cold."

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) says starting in January the inflation reduction act will help more than three million in the US afford insulin.

"If you receive your health care through Medicare your insulin medicine will be capped your cost at $35 a month," she said.

But Senate Republicans stripped a provision that would have capped the price of insulin in the private marketplace. That cap also doesn't apply to people who don't have insurance.

"I think we should have a $35 cap for all Americans because there are a lot of people who are uninsured - they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough money to buy private insurance," said Dr. Thomas. "And even if you have private insurance your deductible could be $7,000."

Thomas is the founder of Plum Health Direct Primary Care in Corktown. He says thanks to free samples, his patients don't pay for insulin.

Thomas says his mission is to make healthcare accessible to everyone — especially diabetes patients. He says the results are devastating for those who are priced out of insulin.

"They’re going without, because of that high cost, and essentially this leads to really bad outcomes: Diabetic retinopathy which can cause blindness, diabetes does damage to your blood vessels, which can lead to early heart attacks and strokes," he said.

Thomas says diabetes is the number one cause of amputations and blindness in the United States. He says that is one more reason why insulin needs to be affordable for everyone.