By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Senate Republicans have released a plan to help diabetics pay for the cost of insulin. Its part of an ongoing debate as the cost of the drug has skyrocketed in recent years.

WCCO’s Kate Raddatz breaks down the plan and shares how advocates are responding.

As Democrats push for a bill that would require drug companies to pay fees in order to pay for an emergency insulin program, Republicans are proposing a bill that would focus on doctor-patient relationships.

The proposal from Senate GOP leaders would provide insulin to diabetics without coverage through state or federal programs. They’d have to fall within income caps as well.

“Just to put that into context, that’s a single person making nearly $50,000 a year and a family of four making over a $100,000 a year,” Sen. Eric Pratt said.

The price of insulin has more than tripled in the last decade. 1 in 4 diabetics ration their insulin.

Under the GOP plan, diabetics would determine eligibility through MNSure online and bring a statement to their doctor. Doctors would order a 120-day supply of insulin and patients would be eligible for refills for one year.

“I’ll take what I can get,” Quinn Nystrom said.

Nystrom is the Minnesota Chapter Leader of the group Insulin 4 All and a type 1 diabetic. She says it’s too soon to say which plan would be most effective, but she’s just glad lawmakers are coming to the table.

“Hearing that all these people would get a year supply of insulin — that sounds great,” Nystrom said. “I just want to know who ultimately pays for that?”

“We’ve pushed PHARMA probably further than they would’ve wanted to go but we expect that they will do business in the state of Minnesota and they will comply with this program,” Sen. Eric Pratt said.

Republicans say this way of accessing insulin would provide the added benefit of strengthening doctor and patient relationships in managing diabetes.

A tentative insulin deal fell apart earlier this year during the special session. A senate hearing on the bill will take place on Monday.

House Democrats responded saying they agree that insulin manufactures should be held financially responsible but said they would like to see an emergency insulin program put into place.

Kate Raddatz

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