Rep. Kennedy legislation would cap the cost of prescription insulin at $100 per 30-day supply


STATE HOUSE — Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) has introduced legislation that would cap the amount health insurance providers can charge for copays for insulin.

The bill (2020-H 7126) would limit the total amount that an insured person is required to pay for a covered prescription insulin drug at $100 per 30-day supply of insulin, regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed to fill the covered person’s prescription.

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare is scheduled to hear testimony on the legislation during its meeting after the House session tomorrow in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.

“We’ve seen a huge rise in the cost of insulin over the past few years,” said Representative Kennedy. “That isn’t just cost-prohibitive for those who need the drug, it’s disastrous both financially and medically for those who need multiple doses of insulin every single day just to survive. According to the most recent statistics, 7.9 percent of adults in Rhode Island have been diagnosed with diabetes, making this a widespread tragedy.”

According to a 2018 survey by UpWell Health in Salt Lake City, half of people with diabetes have temporarily skipped taking insulin because of rising costs. The pancreas of a person with Type 1 diabetes lacks the ability to make insulin. Insulin shots are the only way to keep blood glucose levels down in Type 1 diabetes sufferers.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Its complications, including heart disease, stroke, amputations, blindness and kidney disease, are both serious and expensive. By 2012 the total cost of diabetes increased to $245 billion, meaning that the disease’s toll on the economy has increased by more than 40 percent since 2007, according to a report from the American Diabetes Association.

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) and Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick). Similar legislation (2020-S 2322) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield).






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