LOCAL NEWS

Proposed Bill Looks To Cap Insulin Copays For Utahns

Jan 31, 2020, 10:50 PM | Updated: Feb 4, 2020, 11:26 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State lawmakers have proposed a bill that would cap how much Utahns have to pay for insulin.

“It is almost a moral issue to expect somebody to pay $1,200 for something that doesn’t cost more than $50 or $100 to produce,” said Rep. Norman Thurston, R-Provo, who sponsored House bill 207.

The legislation would aim to help the nearly 200,000 Utahns with diabetes, including Jennifer Draney and her family, by capping insulin copays for each patient at $30.

In 2017, Draney rushed her 16-year-old son to the hospital where they were told he was in diabetic ketoacidosis.

“I was just in shock, terrified,” Draney said. “The nurses were talking and saying, ‘How is he not in a coma?’ and it was scary.”

His blood sugar was at 615, five-and-a-half times higher than normal levels. Two years later, just as the family was adjusting to their new lifestyle, Draney’s doctor gave her some unexpected news.

“He was like, ‘You have Type 1 (diabetes); we have to put you on insulin right away,’” Draney said.

The bills continue to mount as Draney pays $295 a month for insulin while her son pays $250.

“Without it, it’s literally life or death within hours,” she said. “So I pay a little bit here to kind of a juggle these bills to pay for these bills.”

Thurston has worked with Utah chapter for T1 International on the bill. Their goal is to fight for fair insulin prices and access for all. The bill also pushes for better access to insulin by giving pharmacists the ability to extend prescriptions.

“We want to give pharmacists the ability to then continue or extend those prescriptions so that you don’t have to be stressed out about I have got to get in to see a doctor in the next three or four days,” Thurston said.

Thurston’s bill was in the house rules committee Friday and was on track to be referred to receive a standing hearing committee and a public hearing in the next week.

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Proposed Bill Looks To Cap Insulin Copays For Utahns