HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Two Pennsylvania senators are fighting to make insulin more affordable.
Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams, Franklin, York, Cumberland) introduced the ‘Affordable Insulin Act’ which would cap the price of insulin at just $30 per month.
“Between the companies that make it and the insurance companies that cover it we can do a lot better than we’re doing right now,” Laughlin said.
Franklin County woman Amber Crouse has lived with diabetes for decades. “I need a constant supply of insulin or it really does affect my body,” Crouse said.
Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.
That insulin comes at a cost.
“In my 20s when I had to learn how to provide and try to figure out how to afford it I would ration it with water,” Crouse said.
Her brand of insulin comes at about $500 a bottle and she uses more than one each month. She’s found ways to cut that cost by getting a co-pay card, but this bill could help her family.
“A little extra money here and there that we could put towards my son’s education, even just putting towards retirement,” Crouse said.
Other lawmakers have tried to pass similar legislation but it’s never happened. Sen. Laughlin says he thinks this bill does have a real chance this time.
“We’re trying to update how we do things in Pennsylvania that make it more people-friendly to be here,” Laughlin said.
Health advocate Antoinette Kraus with Pennsylvania Health Access Network says even if it does pass, there’s more to be done.
“There are thousands of Pennsylvanians that are struggling with the cost of insulin, but we can’t stop here and this bill really does not go far enough,” Kraus said. “We’re going to have to pay for it one way or the other whether it’s when we go to the pharmacy or when we pay our health insurance bill.”
She wants to see something bigger.
“To really hold pharmaceutical corporations accountable for the exorbitant prices that they charge Pennsylvania consumers for everyday drugs,” Kraus said.
Senator Laughlin has introduced a different bill with Senator Sharif Street that aims to force pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about drug costs.
“I feel the pain of the average citizen that’s trying to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck,” Laughlin said.
Pennsylvanians like Amber are happy to see legislators tackling healthcare costs. She says for the first time in a while she feels hopeful for the diabetic community.
We need lower costs on things and somebody’s gotta fight for it so I’m happy to see somebody finally is,” Crouse.
The bill was sent to the Banking and Insurance Committee. Senator Laughlin is hopeful there could be some movement on it next month.