Bill to cap insulin prices in Texas picking up steam at the Capitol

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Over the past decade, insulin prices have more than tripled. Out-of-pocket prices range from hundreds, to thousands of dollars a month, and now state lawmakers are trying to put a cap on those costs.

“Children with diabetes, Type One Diabetes, cannot live without insulin, they have to have it,” said Texas nurse Dawn White. Her son Cole was diagnosed with diabetes four years ago when he was 15..

“Since that time, we have paid varying costs for insulin, we’ve paid as little as $100 a month, and as much as $500 a month,” White explained.

But, some of her friends in support groups are stuck paying even more out-of-pocket each month.

“One mom in our support group who actually has twin daughters that have diabetes, and she has to meet a $4,000 deductible. And after she meets that her insulin costs for three-months supply $2,800,” White said.

She said some families are having to choose between the life-saving medication and food, which is why Republican State Senator Lois Kolkhorst authored Senate Bill 827.

“Which caps the copay, the out-of-pocket expenses at $50 for people,” Sen. Kolkhorst explained.

The bill is already getting plenty of bipartisan support. On the Senate floor last week, Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. called it one of the best bills he’s seen in the legislature in years.

“There isn’t much legislation that will, I believe have more of a direct impact on our constituents than this one,” Sen. Lucio said.

That impact isn’t limited to the 2.8 million Texans living with diabetes, it’ll also cut down costs for taxpayers.

“Diabetes and prediabetes cost Texans an estimated $23.7 billion a year,” Sen. Kolkhorst explained.

Sen. Kolkhorst said oftentimes when insulin gets too expensive, people start rationing their medication, which then leads to severe problems that lead to hospitalization. And even though they’re still insured, if they’re struggling already financially, many times they’re not able to foot the entire hospital bill. That’s when it trickles down to taxpayers.

After the bill officially passed unanimously in committee, and then passed on the Senate floor Thursday 27-3, White is hoping it passes in the house with just as much support.

“We just, we have to make insulin affordable for everyone,” White said.

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