House passes bill to limit out-of-pocket costs for diabetics

The House of Delegates today passed a bill that could help West Virginia’s many diabetics.

House Bill 4252 would cap the cost of insulin at $35 for a 30-day supply, lowering that from a previous cap of $100. Cost sharing for devices such as blood sugar test strips or glucometers is capped at $100 for a 30-day supply. And cost-sharing for insulin pumps would be capped at $250 for insulin pumps.

Matthew Rohrbach

“This is an attempt to help our families in West Virginia with one of the main health problems in West Virginia,” said House Health Chairman Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell.

The bill includes an estimate that more than 240,000 West Virginians are diagnosed and living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and another 65,000 are undiagnosed.

Barbara Fleischauer

“I am so thankful for this bill because it will truly save lives,” said Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia.

The bill passed 94-3 with delegates Laura Kimble, Shannon Kimes and Pat McGeehan voting against it. Three delegates were absent. The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

John Kelly

Delegate John Kelly, R-Wood, described himself as a Type 2 diabetic who takes insulin. He said the co-pay for his recent prescription was more than $800. “Is this bill going to help that for me or other people in the situation I’m in?” Kelly asked.

“Yes,” responded Rohrbach. “That’s the way we take it, if you’ve got insurance.”

Danielle Walker

Delegate Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia, also identified herself as a Type 2 diabetic.

“And because of the financial strain in getting your insulin and your supplies, last session I took my insulin blindly because I couldn’t afford the strips or the needles to see what my glucose levels are. And we have many West Virginians facing this every day.”

Walker said she worked hard to change her eating habits. “And as of right now, I’m not on insulin and I don’t have that financial burden, but many folks do,” she said. “And what you are telling people today is we support healthcare, and we support affordable healthcare.”

Delegates also passed another health-related bill, allowing West Virginia University to create a Parkinson’s Disease registry.

House Bill 4276 directs the university to collect data on the prevalence of Parkinson’s Disease, the chronic and progressive neurological disorder. People can opt out if they don’t want to participate.

“What we’re really trying to get a handle on is what is the instance and prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases in the state of West Virginia,” Rohrbach said.

Heather Glasko-Tully

Delegates passed the bill 91-6. 

“If you ever wonder if what we do down here makes a difference in the everyday lives of people, the answer to that question is yes,” said Delegate Heather Glasko-Tully, R-Nicholas.

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