HB207: Provo rep’s bill to cap insulin costs inches toward passage

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A Provo representative is sponsoring a bill that would reduce the expenses on insulin for Utahns.

Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, is sponsoring HB207, which has passed the House and has been favorably recommended by a Senate committee. It waits for a full vote in the Senate before the Legislature ends March 12. Thurston says the measure would not only save money for insulin consumers but would not hurt the insurance companies. The bill would cap co-pays for insulin at $100 per month.

During a House floor debate, Thurston said, “50,000 Utahns regularly use insulin to live. Without insulin they would die.” Also, he added, “One in four people who are dependent on insulin ration the insulin because they can’t get enough. The No. 1 reason why can’t get enough is because of the cost.” 

Thurston is sponsoring this bill along with Sen. Deidre M. Henderson, R-Spanish Fork. On Feb. 6, Thurston explained the House Health and Human Service Committee how the bill would benefit consumers and providers.

Mindie Hooley, the leader of the Utah’s #Insulinforall Chapter, told a legislative committee, “I started the Utah chapter because I was hearing people were rationing and dying because of the cost of insulin, and I knew I had to do something to bring forth awareness.” Hooley has listened to stories as she helped several cases in the state. 

Nevertheless, one time she could not purchase insulin for her son because she could not afford it. Her son was rationing doses and had not told Hooley about it. He began to feel headaches and other symptoms that were more serious every time. Hooley added: “We went into medical debt over a course of quite a few months. Insulin costs more than my car payment, my house, and our food bills.”

HB207 would benefit families like the Hooleys while also benefiting the insurance companies.
“We don’t oppose the bill,” said Utah Health Insurance Association Executive Director Kelly Atkinson.

Thurston said, “The Canadian scientists discovered how to extract insulin from animals. And ever since then people who had Type I Diabetes no longer have to die. They sold that patent for $3 to the University of Toronto with the idea that insulin belongs to the world.”

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