MN lawmakers reach deal on insulin affordability

Close up of a person holding a bottle of insulin.
A patient holds a vial of insulin during a news conference outside the Olde Walkersville Pharmacy in July 2019 in Windsor, Ontario.
Carlos Osorio | AP Photo 2019

Minnesota House and Senate negotiators have finalized legislation to provide emergency insulin to people who are unable to afford the life-saving drug.

Members of a conference committee unanimously approved the compromise on Wednesday, with the full Legislature expected to vote as soon as next week.

Under the measure, eligible patients could get a 30-day supply of insulin for a $35 copay. They would also get long-term access to affordable insulin. Drug manufacturers are required to provide the product.

Nicole Smith-Holt, who pushed for the bill after the death of her son Alec Smith, thanked lawmakers for reaching the compromise.

“The community of diabetics, caregivers, advocates and families are extremely grateful for your time and dedication to what will result in a saving of lives and the health of Minnesota diabetics,” Smith-Holt said.

But Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, criticized the bill for shutting out unauthorized immigrants and others with strict identification requirements.

“This should have been a much better bill than it is,” Liebling said. “I’m really disappointed because there are many people left behind in this bill.”

Lawmakers have been wrestling with the insulin issue since the end of the 2019 legislative session.

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