West Virginia lawmakers introduce legislation to cap insulin co-pays

Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 7:06 PM EST
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In a measure to save diabetics thousands of dollars, and even their lives, two West Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation that would put a cap on insulin co-pays.

West Virginia Delegates Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, and Jordan Hill, R-Nicholas, Chair of the House Health and Human Resources Committee introduced HB 4078 which is written to put a $25 cap on 30-day supplies of insulin regardless of how much, or what kind is prescribed.

"I just picked up four prescriptions at Kroger last week. My co-pay was only $33.16," Fleischauer said. "In contrast, some West Virginians who are diabetic have to pay hundreds of dollars monthly in co-pays for insulin they've been prescribed, not to mention the additional costs of premiums, medical supplies, and equipment. It's shocking,"

The legislation comes while Ohio and Kentucky lawmakers are working on similar bills.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear stressed passing a bill that would lower the cost for 530,000 Kentuckians.

"There are far too many Kentuckians who are right now rationing insulin, or deciding between a prescription drug expense or healthy food, rent or school supplies,"said Beshear. "In fact, a member of this chamber has talked about having to ration insulin himself

Most bottles of insulin cost just $7 to produce and yet big pharma is charging our people upwards of $300 a vial. It is wrong. It is cruel. We must fight back."

The bills in all three states are bi-partisan.

Sarah Stevens spoke to West Virginia lawmakers Monday and encouraged them to pass the bill.

"This is our state's true silent epidemic that is taking place right now before all of us. Through managing the costs of insulin now, the proposed cap and other legislative actions may help to mitigate the effects of this disease."

Stevens says she and her son both have Type 1 Diabetes. She says each refill costs her family $850. If this bill were to pass, it would save her family $9,900 a year.

"I strongly encourage my elected officials, my friends, other type ones, and family members to follow this bill and encourage its passage so that we won't have to spend almost $900 a month on insulin and we can live more freely throughout our live in knowing this disease is manageable."