Trump offers cheaper insulin, woos seniors

Donald Trump says he 'hopes seniors remember it' after announcing a deal for cheaper insulin.
Donald Trump says he 'hopes seniors remember it' after announcing a deal for cheaper insulin.

Many Americans could pay less for insulin next year under a deal President Donald Trump has announced in a pivot to cost of living issues ahead of November's election.

"I hope the seniors are going to remember it," Trump said at a Rose Garden ceremony, joined by executives from insurance and drug companies, along with seniors and advocates for people with diabetes.

The deal comes as Trump tries to woo older voters critical to his re-election prospects.

People enrolled in the national health insurance program Medicare, who pick a drug plan offering the new insulin benefit would pay a maximum of $35 a month starting next year, saving an estimated $446 annually.

Administration officials are hoping the announcement will provide a respite from the grim coronavirus pandemic news .

A poll this month found warning signs for Trump with older voters. Fifty-four per cent of adults aged 60 and older said they disapproved of how Trump is handling his job as president, while 45 per cent approved.

On Tuesday, Trump tried to suggest former President Barack Obama was responsible for high drug prices. And he took a dig at former Vice President Joe Biden, who's running to deny him a second term. "Sleepy Joe can't do this," Trump said.

Bipartisan legislation to limit price increases and reduce costs for older people with high drug bills is pending in the Senate.

But the fate of any drug pricing bill seems to rest with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has a much more ambitious plan for Medicare to negotiate prices for the costliest drugs, not just insulin. Pelosi would use expected savings to provide vision, dental and hearing coverage for older adults. Most Republicans oppose that approach as an expansion of government price-setting.

White House Counsellor Kellyanne Conway says the administration can't wait for the Democratic-controlled House on drug prices. "Waiting for them to act is very perilous," Conway said.

Australian Associated Press