Matt Gaetz says Americans with diabetes should lose weight after voting against lowering the price of insulin

‘The price of insulin increases as waistlines increase,’ Gaetz wrote in defence of voting against the bill that would cap the price of insulin at $35

Johanna Chisholm
Monday 04 April 2022 16:39
Comments
Blah, blah, blah': Jamie Raskin clashes with Matt Gaetz in House committee hearing

Matt Gaetz, one of the 193 House Republicans who voted against capping the price of life-saving insulin at $35 a month for most Americans last week, has justified his vote by saying that diabetes sufferers who use the live-saving medicine should lose weight.

In his newsletter on Friday, the Florida congressman wrote that his reason for opposing the Democrat-sponsored bill, which passed with the support of a dozen Republicans crossing the aisle, was that obese people are driving up the cost of the product, and not, as Democrats and activists argue, Big Pharma.

“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,” Mr Gaetz wrote.

In the US, more than 37 million people live with diabetes and a majority of those cases - more than 90 per cent - are living with type two, whereas a minority live with type one, an autoimmune disorder often diagnosed in childhood.

Diabetes is one of the most expensive chronic diseases to live with in the US, and the latter is commonly misunderstood as being solely brought about by lifestyle factors, but in reality is influenced by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors, including weight, diet, activity level, genes, epigenetics (gene expression) and even the way your body stores fat.

For both type one and type two, however, there are millions of Americans who rely on insulin to treat the disease, with some people paying as much as $1,000 a month, even when they’re fully or partially covered by insurance.

To Mr Gaetz’s constituents in Florida, where more than 10 percent of the state lives with diabetes, he wrote that while he empathises with those who are struggling with the disease, he still cannot support HR 6833, the legal name of the bill that would cap the price of insulin per month at either $35 or 25 percent of a plan’s negotiated price, whichever is lower.

“I will not see a reemergence of FDR price controls and join the Democrats in their attempt to pave the Road to Serfdom,” he wrote.

Mr Gaetz, who cited the CDC statistic on American diabetes that explains how majority of the country’s cases are type two, continued to lay the blame for the skyrocketing insulin prices at the feet of Americans and their, as he put it, increasing “waistlines”, 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 food, and being active,” he began.

“Arbitrary price controls are no substitute for individual weight control. 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.”

Reactions online were quick to call out the lawmakers stance as hypocritical, considering the passage of such a bill wouldn’t change his ability to afford such lifesaving products (if he required it), as his healthcare, as they argued, is offset by the taxpayers in the country, some of whom voted for him.

This isn’t the first time that Mr Gaetz has waded into the waistline wars of the country. In August 2021, the Florida lawmaker said he doesn’t “fit in” at “Boomer congress” because he’s not old or obese.

“The average age in Congress is 58. Boomer congress is highly vulnerable to Covid actually,” he said. “As an institution, we are old, usually obese and otherwise co-morbid. No wonder I don’t fit in.”

The bill still needs to pass through the Senate. And with many Senate Republicans echoing House counterparts, like Mr Gaetz, who argue that the legislation is modelled after a “Big Brother” style governing, it will be an uphill battle to secure the at least 10 GOP Republicans required to join all 50 Democrats to get the bill signed into law.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in