SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- The Illinois House Prescription Drug Affordability Committee met to discuss the progress of a law that capped the price of insulin at $100 for those insured by the state.
Governor JB Pritzker signed the long anticipated bill at the beginning of last year. However, it didn’t go into effect until January 1, 2021.
Lawmakers explained many Illinoisans rushed to their local pharmacy just to learn the price of their prescriptions stayed the same. Unfortunately, only 15% of Illinois residents were able to get the $100 cap.
Committee members asked people from other states for advice on how to improve Illinois’ system. Nicole Smith-Holt, a Minnesota mother, said high insulin prices impact every state.
She explained once her diabetic son turned 26, he no longer qualified for her health insurance plan. Yet, he couldn’t afford the price of insulin on his own. When told he needed to pay over $1,000 for one month of insulin, he left without it. Smith-Holt said that’s when he started to ration his supply.
“Within a few days, he became so ill that he called in sick to work,” said Smith-Holt. “Within 24-hours of calling in sick to work, his body was found.”
Smith-Holt said she advocates for fair-priced insulin in surrounding states to prevent similar tragedies.
Lawmakers need answers
Committee members asked if the Department of Insurance has seen any trends in the data since the bill passed. Acting Director for the department, KC Stralka, said they don’t currently have that information available.
“So, that’s why we do believe it’s important moving forward to do a full data call and really make sure that we’re getting all the information to have full visibility in what is driving the prices and the effect of the cap,” said Stralka.
She stressed that introducing a data system could allow them to look into how the price cap is affecting Illinoisans. Moving forward, the committee is looking into additional legislation to address prescription drug prices.
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March 11, 2021 at 08:18PM