ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The 2019 legislative session ended without lawmakers taking action on the high price of insulin.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz hosted a roundtable discussion Wednesday where insulin advocates and health care providers told him something needs to be done to save lives.
They said one in four people who depend on insulin to live are either rationing or completely doing without the medicine.
The purpose of the meeting with Walz and Lieutenant Gov. Peggy Flanagan was for the group to tell their stories, and to come up with a plan to help make insulin more accessible and affordable.
Walz says the bill that had bipartisan support did not pass because there was no political will. Now he says that’s changed. The leadership is meeting, and Walz says he hopes their talks result in action that saves lives.
One advocate says insulin has increased 1,200% in the past 20 years.
“When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, the cost of this vial cost around $16, $20 when I’d go to the pharmacy. It was a retail price,” Quinn Nystrom, National Diabetes Ambassador for Center for Change said. “Now, this insulin has not changed at all. So let me be very clear on that. It has not changed at all in its formulary. Today, this same insulin costs around $340.”
Gov. Walz says he will only call a special session to deal with the issue of insulin access and affordability if the leadership is close to hammer out a deal.
He says if they come together and make that deal, he will sign the bill.