ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers reached a deal Wednesday on creating a long-awaited emergency insulin program for diabetics who can’t afford the drug.

A House-Senate conference committee voted unanimously to sign off on the bill, clearing the way for the full Legislature to pass the bill as early as Tuesday next week. A local news outlet reports the legislation represents a breakthrough for behind-the-scenes talks that began soon after a deal collapsed at the end of the 2019 session.

Under the agreement, diabetics who are within seven days of running out of insulin and unable to afford out-of-pocket prescription costs of $75 or more could obtain a 30-day supply at a pharmacy for a $35 copay. Insulin manufacturers would provide reimbursements or replace stockpiles that pharmacies distribute as part of the program.

In addition to the emergency access program, the bill mandates that manufacturers provide longer-term assistance to patients who meet certain qualifications. Eligible Minnesotans making at or under 400% of the federal poverty level — roughly $51,000 for individuals or $69,000 for two-person households — could pay $50 for a 90-day supply.

The deal follows months of public and private talks between Democratic and Republican legislators in the two chambers.

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