Make insulin affordable for diabetics who rely on Medicare and Medicaid

SHARE Make insulin affordable for diabetics who rely on Medicare and Medicaid

Because Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, the attack on the insulin-producing cells, known as the islets of Langerhans, is a sustained one. |

In the United States, 30 million people, including 1 in 4 seniors, suffer from diabetes. In Illinois, approximately 1.3 million adults have diabetes.

Unfortunately, those living with diabetes are also dealing with the skyrocketing cost of insulin.  The list price of insulin has gone from $20 per vial in 1996 to about $275 per vial today, with individuals often needing multiple vials per month.

This is an unconscionable markup on a critical life-saving drug, as diabetes is the primary cause of death for 85,000 Americans each year.

A September 2018 study published in BMJ Global Health estimated that manufacturers could charge between $7 and $11 for insulin and still make a profit.

While insurance covers some of the costs, insulin is all-too-often unaffordable for the 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries in my district who depend on it to survive. That’s because it can cost a senior on Medicare living in Chicago over $1,400 a year to pay for diabetes medication. That has led to an estimated 25% of diabetes patients rationing their insulin in the past year.

For these reasons, we must take actionable steps to lower the cost of prescription drugs. No American should be forced to make the choice between paying their bills and going without a life-sustaining medication.

To combat this problem, I introduced the Insulin Access for All Act. My legislation ensures that Medicare and Medicaid recipients have no out-of-pocket costs for their insulin.

I urge my colleagues to join me in standing up for individuals with diabetes and fight to ensure that insulin is accessible and affordable for all.

Bobby L. Rush, U.S. House of Representatives, 1st District, Illinois

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The market keeps energy prices low 

In the recent editorial identifying the many things that Illinois has done right to keep energy prices under control, there was one glaring omission: Choice.

Illinois’ region-leading electricity market is a result of customers using an open, competitive market to make the right choices for their businesses, their homes, and their families.

More than 1.8 million households and nearly all business customers in Illinois are served by competitive suppliers offering a variety of plans, including green electricity plans.

Since 2008, residents in Illinois’ neighboring states have seen electricity bills rise by almost 31 percent, while Illinois families have seen their bills increase by only 10 percent.

In 2008, consumers in Illinois and its neighbors saw electricity bills that averaged about $85 per month. Ten years later, Illinois families are paying an average of $93 per month while families in neighboring states average over $110.

This has led to billions of dollars saved for Illinoisans over the past decade. Keeping the competitive market healthy and vibrant is the best defense against rising costs.

Bill Griffith, Lemont 

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