OKLAHOMA CITY – According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 450,000 Oklahoma adults suffer from diabetes with over one million more having prediabetes. Approximately 5% of the state’s population has Type 1 diabetes requiring insulin. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved House Bill 1019 Wednesday to help patients be better able to afford their insulin.
Legislative Diabetes Caucus co-chair Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, is the principal Senate author of the bill he said is desperately needed to ensure Oklahomans don’t have to choose between their life-saving insulin and other expenses.
“Diabetics need insulin to survive and avoid complications like amputations, blindness, end stage renal disease, heart attack and stroke. Knowing this, it’s disturbing that the price of insulin continues to climb at an astronomical rate, forcing many Oklahomans to ration their insulin or skip it altogether, which is extremely dangerous and can be deadly,” Simpson said. “Affordable insulin is vital for properly managing the disease for one in three Oklahomans with diabetes. Instead of focusing on profits, companies need to focus on saving lives. I’ve fought for years to lower the price of insulin and am so grateful to my colleagues for their support of this important bill. It’s going to improve the quality of life for so many Oklahomans with diabetes.”
HB 1019 caps the copayment amount for a 30-day supply of insulin to $30 and $90 for a 90-day supply for each covered prescription. Currently, copays are based on individual insurance plans. The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner will be responsible for enforcing the cap.
Simpson has been a long-time advocate for those with diabetes after losing his granddaughter to complications related to Type 1 diabetes.
The bill will next be considered by the full Senate. Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, is the principal House author of the measure.