Will County area state legislators are backing a bill that would lower the cost of lifesaving insulin medication.
The legislation, S.B. 667, caps patients’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply. Someone with Type 1 diabetes on average spends $475 monthly on insulin, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.
State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, introduced the legislation in hopes of passing it during the General Assembly’s upcoming veto session. Manar gathered with his colleagues from Will County — state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood; state Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet; and state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, for a press conference Friday at the AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.
“I believe the first duty of government is to keep people alive,” McGuire said. “And when profiteering prevents people with diabetes from getting the medication they need to stay alive, government must step in.”
If the state legislature passed the bill, Illinois would be the second state to pass such a law. Colorado was the first, according to Manar’s office.
Two Type 1 diabetes patients, Rauri O’Hara, 11, and Rebecca Hirjak, 17, joined the legislators on Friday to talk about how vital it was for them to have insulin.
“I believe this bill should be passed,” O’Hara said. “Being able to live a normal life is a given human right.”
The bill would also direct the Illinois Attorney General’s office to investigate reasons for rising prescription insulin costs to ensure sufficient consumer protection.
The attorney general’s office would then issue a one-time report detailing its findings and make public policy recommendations for controlling and preventing overpricing.
The measure has garnered support from organizations like the American Diabetes Association, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Pharmacists Association and AARP.