Minnesota lawmakers hold bipartisan roundtable to address rising cost of insulin

Updated: August 14, 2019 06:45 PM

Legislators, advocates, and Minnesotans with Type 1 diabetes met at the Capitol Wednesday for the first in a series of community conversations to discuss solutions to the high cost of insulin. The conversations are meant to give Minnesotans a chance to share their concerns and ideas for improving access to insulin and addressing the increasing cost of prescription drugs.

It came a week after Medica announced it will begin capping the cost of insulin at $25 for a month's supply for all its customers, and one day after UCare announced it would do the same.


The price of insulin has tripled in the last decade, and studies indicate that 1 in 4 diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to the high cost, the DFL said.

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Patients, families want answers about rising insulin costs

Minnesota lawmakers agree on insulin plan but not how to pay

After this past legislative session adjourned, a bipartisan group of legislators from the House and Senate met to discuss emergency access to insulin. Although some consensus was reached on the framework of an insulin assistance program, a way to fund it wasn't agreed upon.

Democrats say pharmaceutical companies that have sharply increased the cost of insulin should pay for it. Republicans say the state should use existing revenue earmarked for health care programs.

Democrats blame Republican Senate leaders for refusing to address the issue in a special session.

"Compromise means that both sides move a little bit and we have to keep working to find that middle ground," Sen. Eric Pratt, (R-Prior Lake) said at the hearing, defending Senate leaders.

But House Democrats say Republicans refuse to even come to the negotiation table.

"You can't compromise with someone who refuses to engage whatsoever on the issue," said Rep. Mike Howard, (DFL-Richfield).

House DFLers said later this summer and fall, they'll hold additional Community Conversations to give more Minnesotans a direct opportunity to join the discussion over insulin price and access. Details for each event will be announced after they are finalized. 

In late September, the House Health and Human Services Finance Division will hold a formal public hearing on the topic of insulin cost and accessibility, and will consider solutions discussed during the community conversations.

If you're struggling to afford insulin, you can contact the American Diabetes Association to learn more about finding help.

You can watch the full community conversation here.

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