Cambensy, Chirkun Package Aims to Ensure Insulin Affordability

Legislation would establish price cap for lifesaving medication
Thursday, June 6, 2019
State Reps. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) and John Chirkun (D-Roseville) submitting House Bills 4701 and 4702 for introduction at the Capitol in Lansing on June 6, 2019

LANSING — State Reps. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) and John Chirkun (D-Roseville) introduced House Bills 4701 and 4702 today, as part of a package to place a cap on the price insurers are allowed to charge Michiganders for insulin. The bill sets the maximum chargeable price at $100 per 30-day supply, regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed to fill the prescription.

“Growing up with this disease and knowing the life-and-death situation of having affordable access to insulin and diabetic supplies, I know how people with this disease live in fear of going without,” said Cambensy. “From always choosing professional careers that had insurance to having anxiety about how much insulin I have left and how far away from it I am- especially given the short time-frame diabetics can go without it, I know the struggle of living with diabetes is real. That’s why I feel it’s so important that as someone who can directly relate to what diabetics are dealing with, I’m proud to introduce legislation to help relieve some of that fear and give diabetics certainty in pricing month-to-month.”

Chirkun’s bill would also require the Michigan Attorney General to investigate and submit a report on insulin pricing practices and policy recommendations to protect consumers.

"I am proud to sponsor legislation with my colleague that would help ensure everyone has access to insulin when they need it," said Chirkun. "No one should be priced out of medication that is essential to their health. My hope is that these bills will move quickly through the Legislature and provide much needed relief to Michiganders living with diabetes."

Nearly 3,000 people die from diabetes-related complications in Michigan every year, and studies show that the price of insulin can impact people’s ability to regulate their blood sugar levels. In 2015, a study by the Centers for Disease Control found that patients with diabetes were more likely than those without diabetes to skip medication doses, reduce the amount taken or delay filling a prescription to save money.

A 2019 study conducted at an urban diabetes center in Connecticut found about a quarter of patients surveyed used less insulin than prescribed due to the cost, and individuals who rationed insulin were more likely than those who did not to have poor glycemic control or blood sugar levels (43 percent versus 28 percent).

Efforts to lower insulin prices took on renewed urgency in light of the tragic death of a young Minnesota resident who could not afford his insulin prescription after being termed out of his mother’s health insurance. HBs 4701-4702 are modeled after legislation that recently took effect in Colorado.

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