SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota House DFL lawmakers today held their first roundtable discussion in a series of Community Conversations to give Minnesotans an opportunity to share their concerns and input for improving access to insulin and addressing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Minnesotans who depend on insulin for themselves and their families and have experienced high costs joined legislators to discuss the next steps to solve this crisis facing far too many Minnesotans.
Representative Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven), a practicing physician, participated in the discussion.
“This is a public health crisis,” Rep. Morrison remarked. “It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s an affordability and accessibility issue that impacts nearly half a million Minnesotans living with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.”
The price of insulin has tripled in the last decade, and studies indicate that 1 in 4 diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to the high cost. During the last legislative session, the DFL-led Minnesota House passed the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act as part of the House Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill. Named for a Richfield resident who tragically died after being forced to ration his insulin due to the high cost of the drug, the bill would establish an emergency supply of insulin for diabetics who are unable to pay for prescription refills. Reimbursements for pharmacies would be paid through a fee on insulin manufacturers.
“I’m committed to passing the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act because Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to thrive and live a healthy life,” Rep. Morrison stated.
Rep. Morrison is a member of a bipartisan bicameral group of lawmakers that began meeting after the 2019 session adjourned to discuss emergency access to insulin. Although some consensus was reached on the framework of an insulin assistance program, Republicans preferred that it be funded by taxpayers rather than by imposing a fee on drug manufacturers who have helped create this problem by increasing the price of insulin.
Later this summer and fall, the House DFL will hold additional Community Conversations around the state to give more Minnesotans a direct opportunity to join the dialogue over insulin prices and access.