Tri-Cities lawmaker proposes capping monthly cost of insulin to $100, local family reacts

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KINGSPORT, Tenn (WJHL) – In a joint press conference Tuesday, Tennessee Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, and Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, announced a bill that would set a price cap on the cost OF insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply.

The two lawmakers said that the manufacturing costs of insulin are between $2 and $3.50, yet the average cost patients pay in the United States is around $475.

“We’re very happy to announce the introduction of House Bill 1931, which will when passed, will cap insulin prices at 100 dollars per 30-day prescription this is something that representative Hodges and I feel is long overdue,” Rep. Hill said.

Mallori Jackson of Kingsport told News Channel 11 that her 12-year-old daughter Zoe greatly depends on the life-saving drug and that she doesn’t see how this proposed legislation will work for all Tennesseans.

Zoe was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes four years ago.

The $100 cap might not mean much to insured families like the Jacksons, who are faced with high insurance deductibles.

“We have a 3 thousand dollar deductible, and some have more, so I should be grateful for that, but nothing is covered for us until we pay 3 thousand dollars out of pocket,” Jackson said. “Just last year we had to, I had to go get her insulin, we had none, and I had to go get her insulin the first of the year and it was 18 hundred dollars, for three bottles.”

The amount of insulin a diabetic needs over a 30-day period varies from person to person, as well as day to day, according to Jackson. For Zoe, three bottles last about a month.

Jackson says the manufacturers should simply pay less.

Rep. Hill said in an interview Tuesday that pharmacy benefit managers are reaping from the increased prices, not the manufacturers.

“That is not the manufacturers’ problem, it’s this whole bureaucracy that we have in the middle that’s jacking up the cost to where it’s not affordable for the people of Tennessee,” Rep. Hill said.

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