Help may be on the way for those struggling with the high cost of insulin

Many diabetics and their families have to decide whether they can afford a vile of insulin or not, but recent legislation in Washington could ease this problem
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 4:34 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Danelle Johnson is a mother and advocate in teaching people about diabetes.

”You have four kids at the table and you’re feeding them all food, and you can’t feed this one insulin, you can just as well not give them their food,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s daughter was diagnosed with diabetes in 2015. Her and her daughter work to create understanding about the disease in the community.

Doctors will tell you it’s not a new conversation, that some diagnosed with diabetes struggle to afford the medicine they need to survive.

“You know, one time, one year if something comes up then you kind of deal with it but it’s year, after year, after year, and it’s giving up, what else do you give up to continue to afford this year after year?” said Johnson.

Last week, a bill to limit the cost of insulin passed through the U.S. House and is now on to the Senate. The Affordable Insulin Now Act would cap insulin prices at either $35 a month or 25% of an insurance plan’s price, depending on which is lower.

“At the very beginning, it is so expensive to get all the supplies for every child and adult with Type 1 Diabetes that we’re talking that maybe instead of close to $1,000 in the beginning, maybe a lot less and honestly having $30 for a vile of insulin, it is truly life saving for these patients,” said Amanda Dahl, M.C. pediatric endocrinologist at Sanford.

Dahl says she commonly hears her patients admit to rationing their insulin due to cost.

“I call it either maintaining a healthy lifestyle or just surviving because if you can only afford enough insulin to survive, you’re just breathing you’re not functioning in the matter that you could,” said Johnson.

The bill would cover patients under private health insurance and Medicare.

“Diabetes doesn’t care, it affects everyone, it can affect everyone, it shouldn’t matter the insurance, it shouldn’t matter the age, it shouldn’t matter all of those, it will even the playing field,” said Dahl.

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