FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The House unanimously approved a bill on Wednesday that would provide relief on the cost of insulin to more than 500,000 Kentuckians affected by diabetes.
“This is an excellent example of what this chamber can do, when we are at our very best,” said Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, whose teenage son is diabetic. “When we work together across the aisle, as brothers and sisters, as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers; to make sure that no one will have to lose limbs, lose kidneys, lose their lives to this disease.”
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, joined by more than 70 co-sponsors, would cap the price of insulin at $100 per month. He told his colleagues, “I use insulin. A box of Lantus is over $300 dollars,” said Bentley. “So, if you use four boxes a month, that’s $1,200.”
Rep. Charles Booker, D-Louisville, who is also diabetic, said some people have had to choose between food and insulin, due to its current high cost.
“Making sure Kentuckians can get this life-saving drug without worrying about how much money they have in their pocket, is not a partisan thing. It’s something we all should strive for, and this is a moment we should all say this is true.”
Bentley said the most important thing is that everybody joined in for a unanimous vote.
“Both parties came together, the races came together, everybody came together, because that’s what it’s all about – mankind.”
The vote was 92-0, so the bill now heads to the Senate, where Bentley says he is optimistic of its chances. “I’m sure with the bi-partisan support over here, and the Governor supporting it, I’m sure it’ll have a lot of support over there, too; because you have 500,000 people that you have to take care of, the best you can.”
Bentley called the measure just a start. “West Virginia has just approved a bill capping the costs at $25, although there are stipulations, and we’re not done with this bill yet.”
He says while Colorado was the first state to enact such legislation, more than half of the states are currently working on the issue.
Bentley says this could mean the difference between life and death. “I’ve been behind that pharmacy counter for 44 years. There have been many prescriptions I gave to people. If they didn’t have money, I made sure they had insulin going out the door.”
The legislation is House Bill 12.