Maher Co-Sponsoring Legislation to Lower Cost of Life-Saving Insulin

Assemblyman Brian Maher (R,C-Walden) is co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Assembly Member Phara Souffrant Forrest (D-57th AD) to lower the out-of-pocket costs for patients who rely on insulin (A.4141). The bill would lower the cost-sharing cap from $100 to $30 each month. This would impact the lives of 2.1 million New Yorkers who have diabetes.

“Insulin is an essential life-saving treatment for diabetes, but its costs have become unsustainable for many patients, leaving many to ration out what insulin they can afford to the detriment of their health. We must lower the cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs for the sake of millions of New Yorkers,” said Maher. “Families with more than one loved one with diabetes can pay thousands of dollars, even with health insurance, just to pay for this important medicine. In other cases, we’re finding that seniors with limited incomes sometime choose between their insulin and whether or not to eat. These are impossible choices New Yorkers shouldn’t have to be faced with and we can change that here in the Legislature.”

“For those who need it, insulin can save lives and prevent serious medical complications. However, the high costs of insulin and supplies are a barrier for many. When people ration or stop taking their insulin due to cost, it can lead to hospitalizations, disability, and poor health outcomes. Residents shouldn’t have to choose between their healthcare and other basic needs,” said Dr. Alicia Pointer, DO, MPH, FAAP, Commissioner of the Orange County Department of Health.

Those with diabetes suffer from high blood sugar, which has a wide range of negative impacts on a patient’s health. Type-1 diabetes is due to a lack of beta-cells in the pancreas or an autoimmune-related issue, while type-2 diabetes is an imbalance between blood sugar and insulin production. Type-1 diabetics must take insulin and roughly 30 percent of type-2 diabetics are insulin reliant. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to many other health problems, including damage to the eyes, organs, nerves and other tissues, and it can also cause heart attacks, strokes and some cancers.

Maher says New York can become one of the leaders in making insulin more affordable to patients. Utah has already adopted a lower insulin cost-sharing cap of $30. Other states, including Connecticut, New Mexico, California and Virginia are pursuing similar lower caps, ranging from $25 to $50 per insulin order.