FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 22, 2021) – On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 95 (HB 95), protecting the health and lives of Kentuckians with diabetes by capping the cost of insulin at $30 per 30-day supply for those with state-regulated health care plans or plans purchased on the marketplace exchange, state employees and people under group plans.
Before it was sent to the Governor’s desk, HB 95 passed the Kentucky House of Representatives and Kentucky Senate without a single negative vote.
The Governor also signed 12 other bills that support and expand quality health care for Kentucky families. He vetoed five bills that would strip power from the executive branch, in some cases violating the Constitution or risking significant taxpayer dollars.
“Health care is a human right,” said Gov. Beshear. “Capping the cost of insulin was the right thing to do to support every Kentuckian who has had to risk their own life or be afraid of permanently damaging their health just because they could not afford insulin. Today, they no longer have to live in fear – now this lifesaving medicine is affordable.”
“My son, Alex, lives with Type 1 diabetes. Standing here today, we can’t prevent other moms from receiving the same news I got in that hospital 14 years ago. But we can make sure that when they receive that diagnosis, they know that they won’t have to choose between bankruptcy and keeping their child alive,” said Rep. Patti Minter (D) of Bowling Green, who co-sponsored the bill. “Thank you to Gov. Beshear, for your commitment to expanding health care as a basic human right.”
“The price of insulin has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, even though the cost of production has stayed relatively stable,” said Rep. Danny Bentley (R) of Russell, who co-sponsored the bill. “As a Type 1 diabetic, I understand firsthand how scary it can be when you can’t afford your medication. We need to ensure those who need this lifesaving medication can always access it. This bill is meant to keep people healthy, keep people productive and decrease the cost of complications related to diabetes. Thirteen other states have already passed similar measures, and it’s time for Kentucky to do the same.”
“I want to extend my gratitude to Rep. Danny Bentley, Rep. Patti Minter and to every member of the House and Senate who voted yes on this measure, and who got to see just a glimpse of how immoral the rising cost of insulin really is. Much more has to be done, but HB 95 is a step forward,” said Angela Lautner, Kentucky #insulin4all legislative lead. “We must continue this momentum into the next session. Access to insulin is a human right and we stand ready to work with every member of the House and Senate in the future as we continue our work for insulin for all, for every single Kentuckian.”
In addition to capping the price of insulin, HB 95 also requires health care benefit plans to provide the needed equipment, supplies and outpatient training and education to help diabetics stay healthy, and forbids any reductions from this coverage by others involved in coverage.
More than half a million Kentuckians have diabetes; Kentucky ranks seventh-highest in the U.S. for diabetes prevalence. While companies pay $2 to $7 to manufacture a single vial, some Kentuckians have had to pay more than $1,000 a month for their lifesaving supply.
In 1923, the inventors of insulin sold their patent for just $1 specifically so this critical drug would be available and affordable for diabetics everywhere, but before HB 95 was signed, in Kentucky, the price-gouging of insulin undermined its creators’ commitment to making it accessible.
Many Kentuckians who have diabetes, including a former state representative, have been forced to ration insulin due to its high cost, even though doing so could kill them. The Governor said HB 95 will ensure more Kentuckians are protected from that impossible choice.