A House bill that would cap the monthly cost of insulin has passed its final legislative hurdle after the Senate agreed to withdraw its changes made to the legislation on Tuesday.
House Bill 95, sponsored by Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, would cap the monthly co-payment at $30 per month.
“The price of insulin has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, even though the cost of production has remained relatively stable,” Bentley said. “As a Type 1 diabetic, I understand firsthand how scary it can be when you can’t afford your medication. We need to ensure those that who need this lifesaving medication can always access it. This bill is meant to keep people healthy, keep people productive and decrease the cost of complications related to diabetes. 13 other states have already passed similar measures, and it’s time for Kentucky to do the same.”
While presenting the bill on the House floor, Bentley stated that people often have to choose between paying their rent or buying insulin due to how expensive insulin can be, despite the cost to manufacture insulin being $3.69 to $6 per vial.
“If I was paying cash for my insulin, if I didn’t have the insurance I have, my insulin would cost me $12,000 a year,” he said.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Kentucky has more than 531,000 adults with diabetes, or 14.5% of the adult population, and another 1.1 million adults with pre-diabetes.
During Senate debate, Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, was one of those speaking in favor of the bill. “I appreciate the gentleman from Greenup, who has worked tirelessly on this issue, which is very important,” she said. “I wanted to give him a shoutout for all the work he’s done through the years on this issue.”
Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, told his colleagues, “This is one of the best things we could do this year, for those who have the need for insulin. It is very important when these co-pays have gotten up to $100 or $200. It’s ridiculous that we even have individuals who could be helped by a product that is inexpensive to produce, and yet they’re being stiffed. It’s so unnecessary.”
The Senate raised the monthly cap to $35 and added an emergency clause, meaning the bill would become law immediately after being signed instead of the usual 90 days after the session ends. But after the House would not agree to the changes, the Senate withdrew them, so the bill now heads to Gov. Andy Beshear.