State lawmakers introduce bill to cap insulin costs

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FLINT (WJRT) (08/14/19) - A 27-year-old Virginia man died after falling into a diabetic coma.

His family said he was rationing his insulin intake because he could no longer afford the rising cost of the drug he needed to stay alive.

"Struggling to buy a bottle of insulin. It's not right," said Fenton resident Kim Weber.

She is all too familiar with the Virginia man's plight. Weber, who has been insulin dependent for 45, needed nine bottles of insulin a month at one point to regulate her blood sugar.

"My husband is self employed. And so when building is down, money doesn't come in. You do what you have to do to survive," Weber said.

Unfortunately, that means making life altering decisions.

"Myself as a Type 2 diabetic, we are looking at the looming cost of medicine moving forward in a growing diabetic community. We have to find ways to reduce costs for medicine," said State Rep. Sheldon Neeley.

The Flint Democrat is part of a group of Michigan House Democrats that have proposed capping the rates that health insurance companies can charge their patients for insulin.

"We should be very generous and have a level of humanity as it relates to costs and affordability for this medicine," Neeley said.

Under House Bill 4701, an insured Michigan resident would pay no more than a $100 for a 30-day supply.

"We are looking at $25 a week, no matter which insulin they use -- no matter the brand or how expensive it is," Neeley said.

Weber said without health insurance, the out-of-pocket cost for one bottle of her insulin is more than $300. She is happy to hear lawmakers are working to lower the costs, but hopes it's just the beginning.

"I think that's wonderful. I think they can go lower, though," Weber said.



 
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