SAN ANTONIO – Two bills that will bring some financial relief to those with diabetes that use insulin are headed to the governor’s desk for a signature. If enacted, the bills would lower the cost of prescription insulin starting in September.
Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock), a former San Antonio educator, knows firsthand what the life-saving medication means for people with diabetes. While on the campaign trail three years ago, he found out he had Type 1 diabetes.
“When I left the hospital, I went to Walgreens to pick up my first 30-day supply of insulin, and I had to pay $684 out of pocket, and I had health insurance,” Talarico said, recounting the sticker shock he felt.
Talarico was one of the sponsors for Senate Bill 827 and House Bill 18, which are now both headed to the governor’s desk for signature.
SB 827 would cap the cost for prescription insulin for insured Texans at $25. HB 18 would give those without insurance a discounted rate under a new drug savings program.
“Both pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies are profiting off the suffering of Texans with diabetes, and this legislation will help put an end to that,” Talarico said.
Dawn White, whose son uses two different types of insulin, gets emotional because she says this cap is life-changing for parents and people who have struggled to get their medication and pay bills.
“Type 1 diabetes is you don’t get to choose whether or not you buy insulin or groceries. You have to buy insulin because they can’t live without it,” White said.
She said her costs in the past have ranged from between $100 and $500, plus medical supply costs.
“It’s devastating that families have to charge on their credit cards or, you know, they don’t contribute to their 401K because they have to buy insulin,” White said.
She said some people have even had to risk their lives by rationing their insulin.