Opinion: Being sick is expensive. I’m grateful Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act lowered my insulin costs

By Pam Bloink

February 14, 2024

In this op-ed, Michigan resident Pam Bloink discusses her experience with reduced insulin and prescription costs thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

As any person living with chronic health conditions will tell you, being sick is expensive.

I recently calculated that I spent $1,068 last year on insulin. And this high cost doesn’t even account for my other medical treatments and prescriptions. This is why I’m grateful for President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which has reduced insulin and prescription costs for Michigan seniors and retirees like me. 

Thanks to the IRA, I, like millions of other Americans benefiting from the insulin copay cap, now pay just $35 a month for one of my two insulins. I will pay $528 for insulin this year because of the IRA—less than half of what I spent last year. That’s a huge difference. The Biden administration’s work on the issue of drug pricing has brought some much-needed relief to my life as I manage my diabetes and unrelated illnesses.

I know from my own experience that prescription drugs and insulin mean nothing if the patients who need them to live can’t afford them. For years, I’ve had to opt for cheaper, generic groceries and cut costs everywhere I can in order to afford my insulin. Now, thanks to the IRA, my situation is finally improving a bit. The IRA does great work making insulin and multiple critical prescription drugs more accessible for seniors and Medicare patients who need them the most. 

In addition to passing price capping provisions in legislation like the IRA, we need to actively spread the word about these life-saving provisions. Many patients, pharmacists, doctors, and advocates alike don’t know what the IRA means. After the insulin cap went into effect, I got into a discussion with my pharmacist about costs because they didn’t realize that the cap was in effect. 

My pharmacist tried to charge me my pre-IRA insulin price, but I made sure I was charged fairly. They then communicated with my doctor and were able to charge me the correct new price of $35. They were very helpful in helping me obtain the lower rate, but this experience showed me how much work we must do to educate the public about how the IRA will help communities across Michigan. 

I am grateful for the work of national and state leaders like President Biden, Governor Whitmer, and Senator Stabenow for working on behalf of Michigan’s seniors. Last year, I did an event with Senator Debbie Stabenow and Congresswoman Hillary Scholten to share my experience of how the IRA has bettered my life. I believe it is our duty to continue sharing how life-changing these copay caps are. Millions of Americans in Michigan and across the country will now be able to afford prescriptions they previously couldn’t. That’s worth celebrating and uplifting. 

With this extra money in my pocket, I feel less of a pinch when paying my bills every month. I was a teacher my whole career and never thought I’d be in this position of living paycheck to paycheck even with a master’s degree and retirement plan. Life is expensive. It’s even more expensive when you’re sick. We must continue to do all we can to lower costs for our most vulnerable populations through landmark cost-lowering legislation like the IRA. 


  • Pam Bloink

    Pam Bloink is a 65 year-old retired teacher who has lived in Western Michigan for 35 years. She is a Medicare recipient and is a beneficiary of the $35 insulin cap through the Inflation Reduction Act.

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