Senate Republicans get feedback on insulin plan |

Senate Republicans get feedback on insulin plan

Updated: September 23, 2019 05:20 PM

Advocates for affordable insulin mostly applauded Republican Senators for coming up with a plan to address the issue, but stop short of endorsing a plan to provide free insulin for thousands of Minnesotans with diabetes.

"The timeframe seems too long," Nicole Smith-Holt said on Monday before a Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee. "Lives can be lost during that waiting period. As you could tell from my testimony, my son died in the matter of 24 hours without insulin."

Smith-Holt's son Alec died in 2017 while rationing insulin he couldn't afford. She favors a House DFL plan called the "Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Plan." It would provide immediate 90-day supplies of insulin for diabetics in crisis.

More from KSTP: 

Minnesota Senate GOP unveils insulin affordability bill

Lawmakers to hold community conversations on rising cost of insulin

Senator Eric Pratt, (R) Prior Lake, says his bill would provide free insulin to patients after certain income eligibility requirements are verified within five days.

"Their plan kicks in when diabetic patients are in crisis," Pratt said of the House DFL plan. "Our plan tries to catch patients before they're in crisis."

A spokesman for the Minnesota Medical Association generally applauded the Senate GOP plan, but voiced concern about the burden on doctors.

"While you're trying to reduce certain administrative burdens, our fear is the way this is drafted could create new ones for physicans and other prescribers," David Renner, with the MMA.

The pharmaceutical industry also has concerns voiced through a statement from PhRMA, an industry advocacy group.

"We have serious concerns the Minnesota Senate is now contemplating an overly broad Minnesota insulin assistance program that would force insulin manufacturers to give away insulin products for free," the statement read. 

Both the House DFL and Senate GOP plans could be heard in a special session of the Minnesota Legislature this fall.

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Tom Hauser

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