Life-saving medicines are not always easy for those in the U.S. to obtain.
For example, the rising price of insulin to treat diabetes has led to state and federal efforts to put limits on what patients need to pay for it.
La Crosse area State Sen. Brad Pfaff knows the problem first-hand, since his son Andrew was diagnosed with diabetes as a teenager, after showing severe symptoms during holiday activities.
“We were waiting in line, and my son looked at me and said, Dad, I can’t see. I’m having a very difficult time focusing and I can’t see,” Pfaff told reporters Monday during a news conference at the St. Clare Health Mission in La Crosse.
Pfaff says his son is now 22 and doing well treating his Type-1 diabetes, and the senator wants to see more families be able to afford their medicine.
Monday, he introduced a bill to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for those on state regulated health insurance plans and others getting insurance through the individual market.
Democrats Pfaff, and Assembly Rep Jill Billings, spoke about the insulin bill in La Crosse on Monday. Billings says about 7 percent of Wisconsin adults need treatment for diabetes.
A federal bill, passed last year, capped insulin prices at $35 for those over 65 on Medicare Part B and D. Republicans blocked a provision in the bill that would have capped out-of-pocket costs for everyone on private insurance. Pfaff’s bill looks to help alleviate that to an extent. Other Democratic legislation looks to expand the price cap for more people.
According to one health care poll, 1 in 4 in the US, who take prescriptions, have difficulty affording them, Billings noted, adding “and if you look at the cost of insulin worldwide, the most expensive place to buy insulin is the United States.”
More than half of the diabetics in the U.S. — over 21 million people — are under age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.