The GOP’s insulin cap rejection will hit Latinos hard
The Latinx community and other marginalized groups who are at the highest risk to get and have diabetes stand to be impacted the most.
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The historic Inflation Reduction Act that passed on Sunday, Aug. 7, was a big win for Democrats and the Biden administration as they look towards what could be potentially transformational November elections this Fall.
Despite the win, Republicans were still able to block a crucial measure from being included that would have capped the insulin price at $35 for those privately insured.
The insulin cap would have given millions across the country the option that many have not had for years, to be able to afford the medicine needed to live. However, with the rejection, millions of diabetics will now have to figure out how to afford the skyrocketing price of insulin all the while inflation soars and the costs of living across the board grows at a rapid pace.
Once again, those most-affected by the price cap rejection will be marginalized groups, including the Latinx community. The GOP also once again rules against the already disempowered, making them more vulnerable to health and financial consequences as it flexes its close relationships with Big Pharma.
Many were already having to ration their medicine with others not being able to get it all. Diabetes has direct effects on the body’s organs and causes them to fail, including kidneys. It can also cause blindness if it goes untreated. As a result, it leads those affected to have to get a transplant.
According to NBC News, one in five people waiting for a transplant are Latinx.
Per statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is a lot more common among marginalized groups on the whole. American Indians lead the way, at over 14.7%, the Latinx population follows just below at 12.5%, and the African-American community has the third-highest percentage at 11.7%. For the Latinx population, they are also already predisposed to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Along with rates of diabetes in the Latinx population, the flaws of the health care and health insurance system are also a major factor in the prevalence. The way the system is set up, much of the country is uninsured. It means out-of-pocket costs can range upwards to $1,000 and even more in certain cases. According to the CDC, back in 2020 it was revealed that over 32 million Americans were uninsured. Numbers from the Office of Minority Health showed that back in 2019, that over 19% of the Latinx community was uninsured.
With that, when you have more than 10% of citizens not insured, and almost a third of Latinx also uninsured, this can and will create huge disparities and further endanger a community that has always been at risk in this country, whether it be through health disparities, immigration, and other existing injustices.
CDC statistics show that Latinx are 70% more likely than their white counterparts to get diagnosed with diabetes. An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise can further lead to being diagnosed, and prevailing economic factors of high food costs sometimes leaves Latinx individuals unable to attain healthier diets and regiments. According to national statistics, Latinx are 1.3 times more likely to die of the disease or complications from it, compared to the white population.
According to a research article from Health Affairs published last month, 14% of people who need insulin, after food and shelter, are forced to use more than 40% of the family income or personal income to pay for the medicine that has doubled in price in just the last few years. People of color also already have lower rates of health insurance, making it all the less attainable.
Yadira Sanchez, executive director for Poder Latinx, an organization that builds up Latinx power in Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, said the cap would have “had a tremendous impact in the Latinx community.”
“For us this was very personal... This meant a lot for our families — We need more legislation that really caps those costs to our families especially as inflation is hitting our families extra hard,” she said.
Texas U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who has lost a family member to diabetes and another currently fighting it, said the high cost of insulin is, “fundamentally a health equity issue."
"This isn’t a partisan issue, and it’s shameful that Republican senators are more focused on protecting Big Pharma’s profits than helping diabetics stay alive,” Castro said.