US President Donald Trump has praised Indian-American health policy consultant Seema Verma and thanked her for working hard on evolving a Medicare plan for seniors that will cap their insulin bills at USD 35 a month.
In March, 49-year-old Verma was appointed as one of the key members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force constituted by President Trump to combat the deadly disease in the country.
The Senior Savings Model is a plan that will considerably reduce the price of insulin at USD 35 a month beginning next year for people on Medicare, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.
The new options for reducing insulin costs are the result of an agreement reached by the Trump administration with insulin manufacturers and major insurance companies, it said.
“This is a big day for seniors,” President Trump said in a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday.
“We brought all of the parties to the table insurers, manufacturers, and other key players and reached an agreement to deliver insulin at stable and drastically lower out-of-pocket cost for our seniors. I hope the seniors are going to remember it…,” Trump said.
“Seema, I want to thank you because you brought this to my attention a long time ago, and you worked very hard on this day,” Trump said.
“… I also want to thank Seema again. Thank you very much for the job you’ve done helping achieve the incredible victory for Medicare patients nationwide,” he added.
More than 3 million people on Medicare use insulin to control their diabetes, according to the White House.
Verma, who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in return, thanked President Trump in his commitment to lowering the cost of drugs and protecting the Medicare program, the statement said.
“I want to start with thanking…President Trump. He’s been steadfast in his commitment to lowering the cost of drugs and protecting the Medicare program and making sure it works best for seniors,” she said.
Verma said plans that offer the insulin cap will have more expensive premiums, costing about USD 17 more per month than the average cost of basic plans, the National Public Radio reported.
“In exchange for a minimal premium increase, beneficiaries get a maximum fixed USD 35 co-pay for a month’s supply of insulin,” Verma said.
She said that ultimately seniors will save 66 per cent on their insulin costs.
Verma said that if the deal capping costs on insulin is successful, the administration will attempt to take similar action with other expensive drugs.
Trump has long pledged to take action to lower prescription drug costs, but has failed to forge common ground with the Congress on the issue.
The US, which has been badly hit by the deadly virus, has surpassed the grim milestone of over one lakh coronavirus-linked deaths, the highest in the world and has 1.69 million infections.