Bipartisan legislation would help thousands of Kentuckians, some forced to ration insulin
Frankfort, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2020) — To assist more than half a million Kentuckians with diabetes including some who ration insulin because of the excessive cost, Gov. Andy Beshear and a bipartisan group of legislators gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to pass a bill that would drive down the price.
The price of insulin has tripled over the last decade without any significant change to the product. While companies pay $2 to $7 to manufacture a single vial, Kentuckians hit hardest may be forced to pay more than $1,000 a month for their lifesaving supply.
“Health care is a human right, but tragically right now there are far too many Kentuckians who are at risk of losing their life or permanently damaging their health because they cannot afford their daily supply of insulin,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “This is unacceptable and dangerous and lawmakers can act by immediately passing legislation to help thousands of fellow Kentuckians. Let’s let Kentucky be one of the first to act. We need to cap insulin costs because it’s the right thing to do.”
State Reps. Danny Bentley, a Republican, and Patti Minter, a Democrat, are cosponsoring legislation to curb the costs of insulin.
“I pre-filed this bill in June because I know firsthand the struggle diabetics face,” said Rep. Danny Bentley of Russell. “We have made big strides in our work to make quality health care more accessible, particularly with the passage of Kevin’s Law last session. However, we still have a great deal left to accomplish. As a diabetic and a pharmacist, I am appalled that a pharmaceutical company expects individuals to pay hundreds of dollars for insulin when it costs just a small fraction of that to manufacture. I think we have to recognize that there is a difference between making a profit and exploiting a great need.”
“I remember how terrified I felt when I learned that my son, Alex, had Type 1 diabetes just 19 months after he was born,” Rep. Patti Minter of Bowling Green said. “This bill will save lives. Let’s pass House Bill 12 to lower the cost of insulin and protect all Kentuckians who live with diabetes.”
Minter and Bentley are sponsors of House Bill 12, which would cap the cost sharing requirements for prescription insulin at $100 per 30-day supply. Gov. Beshear supports limiting cost sharing on the life-saving drug to make it more affordable and protect those who depend on it from the arbitrary price increases and price gouging.
“For everyone who uses insulin, outrageously high prices are forcing people to make choices – but insulin is not optional – you must have it to live,” said Kentucky #Insulin4All Chapter Leader Sarah Ferguson. “The choice becomes what to skimp on, whether to pay the rent or the electric bill or even how little insulin to possibly get by on – rationing a liquid that costs $6 a vial to produce because the $300 price tag is out of reach.”
There are nearly 600,000 Kentuckians suffering from diabetes.
Last year, the governor of Colorado signed a bill that caps co-payments of the lifesaving medication at $100 a month for insured patients. Illinois became the second U.S. state to cap the price of life-saving insulin last month after their governor signed a bill into law. Other states, including Tennessee, are considering similar bills in 2020.
During his State of the Commonwealth last month, Gov. Beshear talked about the bipartisan legislation and pointed out that a Kentucky lawmaker is among those who have rationed insulin.