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Kentucky bill could cap insulin costs at $100

SB 69 would put a cap on a 30-day supply of insulin, and SB 23 would give people who are not covered by Medicare an emergency supply.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Two Senate bills introduced this legislative session could help diabetics pay for insulin without sacrifice.

Senate Bill 69 would put a $100 out-of-pocket cap on a 30-day supply of insulin, while Senate Bill 23 would give people who are not covered by Medicare an emergency supply.

Senator Phillip Wheeler, who sponsors both bills, said he's spoken with several people who struggle with insulin costs despite having full-time jobs or decent insurance.

"These are issues that don't just affect Democrats or Republicans, they affect Kentuckians," Wheeler said.

It's estimated a single vial of insulin costs between $3-$6 to produce, but it could cost consumers more than $400. Wheeler said capping a 30-day supply at $100 would alleviate diabetics' stress over paying for insulin or paying for rent or food.

RELATED: 'It was right there and I couldn't afford it': Diabetics plead for change as insulin prices skyrocket

"They don't have to worry about day-to-day troubles of how they're going to afford their life-saving medication," Wheeler said.

Senate Bill 23 would help diabetics afford an emergency supply of insulin by imposing fees on manufacturers and distributors, with Wheeler saying the bill would not cost taxpayers.

Wheeler said the bills were not symbolic, saying he would not back a meaningless bill that did not actually help, because he knows people are struggling. 

"I think Senate Bill 69 is the first of many steps that we as the Kentucky legislature need to take in order to make not only insulin, but a variety of drugs more affordable to the middle class consumer," Wheeler said.

He said he looks forward to working with Democrats and Republicans both at the state and federal level.

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