Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord, and Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, today said a plan to cap the cost of insulin for some diabetes patients is making headway in the Michigan Legislature.
Borton and Glenn, both members of the House Appropriations Committee, are among the co-sponsors of House Bill 4346 – which is awaiting a hearing in the Senate after recently winning overwhelming bipartisan support in the Michigan House. The legislators said they are hopeful the measure – part of a broad package to reform and improve health care in Michigan – will receive a Senate hearing within the next few months.
The measure has 16 bipartisan cosponsors and was approved in the House by a 91-to-16 vote. The measure would cap monthly payments for insulin at $50 for Michiganders on all state health care plans.
Borton, who serves as vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, said insulin that cost $20 a vial 20 years ago now costs almost $400 per vial, forcing people who can’t afford insurance co-pays “to skip doses or try to manage their diabetes with diet only, which can lead to death or to serious complications that put an even larger burden on the overall cost of healthcare in Michigan.”
“Our purpose is to lower the cost of staying healthy not only for Michiganders who suffer from diabetes,” Borton said, “but for all citizens and families in our state.”
Glenn, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, said the overwhelming bipartisan vote on the bill “reflects broad public support for such common-sense relief measures, especially during a pandemic when so many have suffered and are still suffering the loss of jobs or businesses or other severe economic harm due to government-imposed shutdowns of our economy.”
Glenn continued: “The overwhelming bipartisan vote also reflects how effective and how widely respected Rep. Borton is among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. It’s a privilege and blessing to work with people of such high character as Ken who are focused on getting positive results for taxpayers and share my goal of trying to help restore people’s faith in our state government.”
Borton and Glenn noted that diabetes is a particularly expensive disease, with the total direct medical expenses for diagnosed diabetics in Michigan costing $7 billion a year, a burden they said falls not just on patients but on all citizens who help subsidize the state’s healthcare system through taxes or insurance premiums.
At least eight other states – Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Utah, West Virginia, and Washington – have passed insulin price cap laws in the last 18 months. This list includes states with legislatures controlled by both Republicans and Democrats, a testament to the bipartisan nature of the reform.
Analysis of the impact in those states indicates that the insulin price cap itself has had negligible or zero impact on the cost of health insurance premiums, but should help decrease the cost to the state’s healthcare system by preventing the cost of treating severe complications for patients who can’t afford proper insulin dosage at the current cost.
In addition to Michigan, insulin price cap bills have been introduced in at least five other states – Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.
Borton and Glenn said that in addition to the substance of the legislation itself, they hope their support of the bipartisan package “helps reassure people that unlike in Washington, D.C., it is possible here for Democrats and Republicans to work together to help improve the quality of life for people suffering serious illness and reduce the cost of healthcare for all of us.”
The legislation is pending in the Michigan Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.