SALT LAKE CITY — You may have seen recent news reports of families in Utah trying to do very creative things to help other families out when it comes to gaining access to insulin amid reports of high insulin prices. Representative Norm Thurston, a Republican from Utah’s House District 64, has a very simple bill with a simple title “Insulin Access Amendments”. On KVNU’s For the People program on Wednesday he told us what the bill would do.
“There are three parts to the bill, all three parts of this bill are intended to make sure that nobody who needs insulin leaves the pharmacy without the insulin they need. The net result of that is we have way too many people who are rationing, not taking as much insulin as they need because it’s too hard or it’s too expensive to get it. It would address those access issues in simple ways,” according to Thurston.
He explained how he got involved in sponsoring the bill.
“I had lots of experience. I have family members who have Type 1 (diabetes) and I’ve known people in my neighborhood who have been sick because they couldn’t get enough insulin. Last summer, I had a group of moms call me, and they say ‘we want to come and talk about our experience.’ I said, ‘Great. Tell me all of the barriers, tell me why you or your kids are rationing (insulin)’.
“So they came and laid it all out and I said I think most of those can be addressed with a fairly straightforward bill.”
Among the things the bill would do is create an incentive for health benefit plans to reduce the required copayments for insulin; direct the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program to purchase insulin at discounted prices; and, to create a program that allows Utahns to purchase the discounted insulin.
It increases the number of days for which an insulin prescription can be refilled and authorizes a pharmacist to refill an expired insulin prescription. You can see the bill at le.utah.gov and search for House Bill 207 Insulin Access Amendments. You can hear the entire interview with Rep Thurston below.
AUDIO: Rep Norm Thurston talks to Jason Williams on KVNU’s For the People