Lawmakers Aim to Cap Monthly Insulin Prices at $100 For Some Patients

Sep 16, 2019

A group of Illinois Democratic lawmakers want to cap insulin prices at $100 per month.

Insulin costs about $700 a month on average in the U.S.

Senate Bill 667 would cap insulin prices, but only for people on public health plans like Medicare or Medicaid.

At a press conference Monday at the Peoria City/County Health Department, state Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said private plans are regulated by the federal government. But he hopes the legislation begins an important conversation.

“We hope that this is a launching pad to not just address insulin costs for individuals who will be affected, but launch a broad conversation in Illinois about how do we get our hands around the entire problem, which is crippling communities in every corner of the state today," said Manar.

Manar was joined by state Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), two people with diabetes, and local health care professionals. Gordon-Booth said it’s important to remember African-Americans are twice as likely to deal with diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

“If we’re talking about ensuring the ability of people to live safe and healthy lives, they have to have access to insulin. It’s not optional. It’s mandatory," she said.

She said several members of her family have struggled with this issue, and mentioned she struggles with high blood pressure despite maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Megan Blair, a single mother with diabetes, said the price of her blend of insulin has skyrocketed from $800 a month to $1,800 a month over the past decade. At times, she said she's rationed insulin to make ends meet and has wound up in the intensive care unit at the hospital for days at a time.

She's not alone. The Yale School of Medicine estimates about 1 in 4 diabetes patients ration insulin due to costs.

Manar is stopping in several cities across the state this week to make his case. He said he hopes to bring the bill up in the state Senate in October with bipartisan sponsorship.