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Rep. Jill Billings pushes for lower insulin costs

Kaitlyn Riley

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Rep. Jill Billings said a week supply of insulin in the United States costs about $340.

Hoping to push a cap on insulin prices, Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) proposed new legislation that would limit the price at $100 per 30-day supply.

Billings co-authors the bill with Rep. Jimmy Anderson (D – Fitchburg), Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), and Sen. Dave Hansen  (D-Green Bay), who say a week supply of insulin in the United States costs about $340.

In La Crosse County, about 500 adults are newly diagnosed with diabetes each year, according to Billings. She said conversations with people in the community showcase how some may have to choose between paying for insulin and other expenses.

“People are either pulling back on dosage, or they are looking at trying to use other types of insulin that may not work as well,” Billings said. “Some people who are using insulin are having issues paying rent or buying groceries.”

Billings said 8 percent of Wisconsin adults have diabetes, and 28 percent of adults have undiagnosed diabetes.

Saying that she has “lost patience” with drug manufacturers, she said it is time for the government to take action.

“I’m a free marketer, but I think when it comes to something like lifesaving drugs, and the drug companies are not doing what they should be doing, then it is really time for the government to step in as it has in Canada, Europe and other areas,” Billings said.

She claimed drug companies lie when they say prices increase because of research and ongoing improvements for existing medications.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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