Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin renew effort to stop rising cost of insulin

A bill in Wisconsin would alleviate the rising cost of insulin for diabetics. The bill would cap the cost of co-pays for the drug at $100 a month and find other ways to address the increasing cost.

This bill was fist introduced and co-sponsored back in early August by a number of Democratic state senators and representatives. Now that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has created a task force dedicated to reducing prescription drug prices, there is hope that this bill can get passed with this renewed attention.

Gabby Krueger was 13 years old when she was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

“I’ve had to take insulin injections, and I was later put on an insulin pump,” said Krueger.

The pump has a sensor to deliver the right amount of insulin, but she still has to check her blood sugar levels before she eats. In all, she spends about $85 a month on pump supplies and insulin.

“I did recently have some kind of a drawback where insurance didn’t cover it, and my pump supplies was $700 that I had to pay out of pocket,” Krueger said.

Lately, she’s been concerned about how to pay for her daily medication. When she turns 26, she will no longer be on her family’s insurance.

“I can’t live without this drug. This is a lifesaving medication for me,” Krueger said.

Senate Bill 340 would cap the co-pays for insulin at $100 per month. It would also direct the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to investigate and report on the pricing of the drug to see what else can be done to address the issue.

“Thirty million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes. In Wisconsin, it’s over half a million,” said state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse.

The Governor’s Task Force on Reducing Prescription Drug Prices met for the first time Wednesday. The group will try to find ways to reduce the financial burden of prescription drugs.

“This is something where I hope the committee will also take a look at and what action could be taken,” Shilling said.

While the Legislature has adjourned for the year, Shilling hopes that people will share their stories with their legislators during listening sessions to get the bill passed.

“Certainly hoping that we will have some bipartisan support moving forward,” Shilling said.

So far, no Republicans have signed on to this bill. Shilling said she has not seen any alternatives from Republican law makers, but would be willing to hear their ideas.

In Minnesota, Republican lawmakers introduced a plan to provide free insulin to residents living in poverty who meet certain requirements. Lawmakers with the Democratc-Farmer-Labor Party have also proposed an emergency assistance program to help those who can’t afford insulin.

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