East Wenatchee Council Member Testifies to State Legislature on Controlling Insulin Prices
East Wenatchee City Councilmember Matthew Hepner testified at two legislative hearings that would offset insulin costs.
Hepner attended two public hearings, one in support for HB 1725 in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee hearing on Feb. 8, and one in support for SB 5729 during a Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee hearing on Feb. 14.
7th District Representative Jacquelin Maycumber is the key sponsor of HB 1725, which proposes to increase access to insulin to those under 21 years of age via bulk purchasing.
SB 5729 would extend the expiration date on the cost-sharing cap for insulin to Jan. 1, 2025.
In 2020, a state law passed that caps the copay for insulin, prohibiting costs from exceeding $35 for a 30-day supply and was extended to Jan. 1, 2024. However, that bill is scheduled to sunset if no change is made.
Both Hepner and Rep. Maycumber are parents to children with Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes is defined as a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
During both hearings, Hepner recalled a time when his 10-year-old daughter was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital last year as she underwent Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which could be fatal if left untreated.
“When your 10-year-old girl is strapped to a gurney, with her little arms full of IVs, scared out of her mind, being medevaced to [Seattle] Children's [Hospital] and she looks at you straight in the eyes ‘Daddy am I going to die?’” Hepner shared. “That doesn't go away and her diabetes is not going away either.”
During the Health Care & Wellness Committee hearing, Rep. Maycumber shared that many parents are put in a difficult position if they reside in an area with limited insurance provider choices.
“We do have an issue today, and that is those parents that go to bed at night and decide to eat or to keep their child alive,” Rep. Maycumber said. “To buy something or keep their child alive.”
A single vial of insulin could cost $98.70 in the United States, making it the highest cost of insulin in the world. One vial covers up to 28 days of use.