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Catholic congressman launches bipartisan bid for affordable insulin

INSULIN

felipe caparros | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 08/04/21 - updated on 08/04/21

When a Nebraska teen saw his insulin prices increase by 1000% overnight, Matt's Act was born.

A bipartisan effort to address the escalated price of insulin is underway. The charge is being led by representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), a Catholic, and Angie Craig (D-MN) with a bill known as Matt’s Act.

Matt Regalado

Matt’s Act was so named for a Nebraska teen, Matt Regalado, who has Type 1 diabetes. Relying on insulin to manage his condition, he routinely makes trips to the pharmacy for the historically affordable drug. The problem arose when the price of insulin suddenly increased 10-fold between visits. 

Along with the dangous possibility that Matt might not be able to acquire his much needed medicine, the increase has also hurt his family’s finances. Matt’s father, Rod Regalado, described one instance when Matt was hospitalized for his condition. Before he could leave, Rod needed to spend $700 on insulin and other supplies. Rod said he didn’t have much of a choice:

“It was really spendy,” he said. “But I didn’t care. I would have given them everything just to get him out of there. I just wanted to get him home.”

Matt’s Act

Fortenberry commented on his Congressional webpage that the bill is meant to cut the inflated price of insulin by at least two-thirds. They note that a new model for cost effective delivery of the drug is needed. Fortenberry said: 

“Many see the costs of their life-saving drugs go up and up and up,” he said. “Patients skip their doses because they can’t afford their insulin, and this can land them in the hospital. They deserve better.”

According to a press release, the price of insulin in 2001 was around $30 per vial. Today, the price stands at $330, an increase that Fortenberry notes is 1000% of what it was. This price hike has nothing to do with the chemistry, as nothing has changed within the product. Instead, Fortenberry blames “layers of bureaucracy” that have added “unnecessary costs.” 

Fortenberry commented in the press release: 

“Matt’s Act is about one thing––fairness for persons suffering with diabetes.  The harsh reality is that the cost of insulin is artificially high and ever-escalating.  No workable solutions exist today for this injustice.” He added, “Matt’s Act makes insulin prices fair for everyone by capping the price at $60 a vial and $20 a vial for those on insurance.”

Bipartisan bill

On the other side of the aisle, Fortenberry has been joined by Congresswoman Angie Craig. Craig noted that her constituents in Minnesota have been struggling with the same price hurdles. She said in the press release: 

“In the greatest country on earth, no American should struggle to make ends meet because of prescription drug prices.  Yet over the past decade, insulin prices in the United States have nearly doubled––making this life-saving drug unaffordable for countless hard working Americans.

Representative Craig continued, “Today, I’m proud to join Representative Fortenberry in a bipartisan effort to fundamentally rethink insulin pricing and to finally bring down the cost of care for the millions of Americans who suffer from diabetes.”

Click here to learn more about Matt’s Act.

Tags:
AmericaHealthcareMedicine

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