By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In front of a room of lawmakers and advocates, people living with diabetes shared their stories of the struggle to find affordable insulin.

“My personal cost per month for just the insulin, based on retail prices, are more than my mortgage, my car payment and major utilities combined. That, times two because I have a diabetic son,” Nathan Loewy said.

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This roundtable discussion is one of a series of talks scheduled by Democrats, but there were Republican lawmakers in the room wanting the same end result.

“People die tragically, but nobody should have to die from this,” Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said.

In an effort to save lives, two medical insurance companies, UCare and Medica announced they would cap insulin costs in Minnesota beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

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“So our members who have fully insured coverage through Medica in a group or individual business will not pay more than $25 for a month supply of insulin,” Medica’s Nicole White said.

All in attendance agreed the only way to stop others from falling through the cracks is to make sure the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act is made law.

“We are begging them to call a special session, stop the bickering and to say let’s just get this done. This isn’t a red or blue issue, it’s a life or death issue,” Quinn Nystrom said.

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One thing that has not been determined is how to pay for the Emergency Insulin Act, which would guarantee 90 days of medication to diabetics in need.

Reg Chapman