ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) – Lawmakers in St. Paul heard from Minnesotans Wednesday morning who struggle to get insulin they need to survive.
The House DFL hosted the meeting that brought together advocates, parents, and insurance companies together to listen to those diabetes patients.
“Under medicare rules your request is not medically necessary so that tells me that my life is nothing,” said type 1 diabetes patient Michelle. “We spent our grocery money to get here today because this is how important it is.” She argued, “Why should I have to go I mean I was born and raised in Minnesota I should not have to go to a foreign country to buy my medicine.”
Some patients resort to insulin rationing, a practice that can lead to death for some patients like 21-year-old Jesy Radcliff who died less than two months ago. “One in four people with diabetes are rationing their insulin and the big reason is the cost has soared a vial of insulin that used to cost $30 now costs $300,” said Rep. Michael Howard, (DFL) Richfield.
The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act was written after the late Alec Smith who also died of rationing insulin. During the last legislative session the bill passed the house, but ultimately did not make it to the governor’s office.
“If this legislative body had the tenth of the courage that our advocates have we would of passed this bill yesterday,” Rep. Howard said.
Senate republicans also were at the table and voiced their concerns, “I think I have some concerns beyond just how this is funded that we needed to work on a little bit more,” said Senator Eric Pratt, (R) Prior Lake.
One thing both sides of the aisle can agree on, “Let’s even take the partial solution just so the darn thing get’s up and running and people can get their insulin they need, right lets focus on the lives lets focus on the health,” said Rep. Howard. “If everybody steps up including the legislature including the insulin manufacturers or insurers than we can create a system where we make sure that nobody falls through the cracks,” said Senator Pratt.
Some lawmakers said they’re hoping for a special session where they can finally pass The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act.