Making Insulin More Affordable for Washingtonians Now

Update January 22, 2020: Two insulin cost bills Health Care for All Washington worked to get introduced and testified for cleared the first legislative hurdle and unanimously passed the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee! HCFA-WA board members Marcia Stedman, Sherry Weinberg, and Ronnie Shure, and our amazing lobbyist Cindi Laws provided testimony at the hearing, in support of the bills.

Check out the video here. Click here to jump to HCFA-WA testimony on SB 6087 - don't miss the exchange between Sen. Rivers and Ronnie! Click here to see Cindi's testimony on SB 6113.

We're excited to see this demonstration of bipartisan support, proving that people can work together to address health care.

Thanks to all who testified or contacted committee members in support. Your grassroots support matters!

Next stop: The bills will now move to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on January 29.

The Ways & Means Committee is responsible for determining the financial impact of proposed bills, such as how much they will cost to set up and administer. Experts will testify to those points, but the committee needs to hear from you as well.

The reason these bills are so important and have such strong bipartisan support is the high cost of insulin. This impacts all of us, whether individually or as members of the broader society.

Your personal story about insulin affordability and its impact on your life will shine a light on the urgent need for these bills. It will be crucial to assuring that the Committee understands the need for these bills and votes to pass them.

★★★Email the Senate Ways and Means Committee in support of these bills here★★★

Thank you - and please join us at the hearing this Wednesday!

Ways & Means
1/29/2020, 3:30 PM
Senate Hearing Rm 4
J.A. Cherberg Building
304 15th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501
MAP

 

Did you know?

★ 11.4% of the adult population of Washington has diabetes (2015 figure)1

★ Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States2

★  20.9% of the senior population age 60 and older have diabetesibid

★ Between 2009 and 2017, the wholesale price of a single vial of the insulin Humalog nearly tripled, from $92.70 to $274.70 3

★ The average cost of insulin per person increased from $2,864 in 2012 to $5,705 in 2016 4

★ The cost to the State of Washington, hospitals, and clinics of treating emergency and urgent care for diabetics due to improper management, care, inadequate quantity or appropriate drugs of a preventable condition results in hundreds of millions of dollars, leading many facilities to bankruptcy. 5

 

Insulin Bill Highlights

1. Cost Sharing Cap on Insulin (SB 6087)

★ This bill would cap out-of-pocket payment for insulin (in the form of co-payments or deductible requirements, for example) to $100 per 30-day supply.

★ The bill requires the state Health Care Authority to monitor the wholesale cost of all insulin products sold in WA.

★ The bill prevents insurers from dropping or reducing coverage.

★ The program would expire on implementation of another bill being introduced, a centralized state insulin purchasing program. (Which we’ll present next!)

 HCFA-WA’s take:  An important first step to insulin affordability

★ We support this bill as it would provide needed immediate help with insulin costs, particularly for Washingtonians who need it the most.  

★ While there has been concern that it may lead to insurers raising premiums, this has not happened in Colorado, which had a similar law take effect this year. Illinois also passed a similar law and we’ll be watching how the insurance industry responds.

★ This bill along with others will put pressure on pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices.  Washington is one of many states taking on the pharmaceutical industry, and we are beginning to see some drug profiteers responding to pressure.

2. Central Purchasing Program for Insulin (SB 6113)

★ This bill creates a single state-based purchasing entity for insulin to leverage buying power of all insulin purchasers and thus lower the cost.

★ Participation is voluntary. This includes health insurers and individuals who lack prescription coverage and other purchasers of insulin.

★ The Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium will act as the purchaser.

★ The purchasing strategy will be developed by a work group with representatives from a wide variety of stakeholders and entities.

★ The program could begin by December 2020 if no statutory changes to the plan are required by the legislature.

HCFA-WA’s take: 

★ Makes insulin and supplies more affordable for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians.

★ Expands the role of the Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium to act as a publicly funded, publicly administered single purchasing entity for insulin. This can create a pathway toward expanding to a state-based universal drug plan. 

★ The work group tasked with developing the purchasing strategy is missing some important members. We will be advocating for representation from people with Type I and Type II diabetes, Diabetic advocacy organizations, health advocates for marginalized groups, and physicians specializing in the treatment of diabetics as well as primary care physicians

3. Drug Affordability Review Board ( SB 6088)

A third bill, creating a Drug Affordability Review Board, would track and regulate the prices of drugs deemed to have excessive costs. This has our interest because a drug review board is a component of our Washington Health Security Trust bill, HB 1104.


Footnotes

1. The Burden of Diabetes in Washington, American Diabetes Association

2. An Overview of Medicare Covered Diabetes Supplies and Services, MLN Matters, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

3. How much difference will Eli Lily's Half-Price Insulin Make?,  NPR

4. U.S. insulin costs per patient nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016: study, Reuters

5. Diabetes Epidemic and Action Report, Washington State

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