State senators push to lower insulin prices in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Two bills discussed Tuesday in the Legislature would cap monthly insulin costs in Nebraska.

Bill 142, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, would cap the out-of-pocket cost of prescription insulin in Nebraska at $100 per month. 

“Insulin is literally necessary for survival for many Nebraskans, but in the face of this, insulin prices have skyrocketed in the past two decades,” Briese said. 

Sen. Eliot Bostar of Lincoln introduced Bill 779. It would cap the cost to $35 per month for all insured individuals.  

“The increase in costs for this lifesaving medication is creating hardships in Nebraska families,” Bostar said. “LB 779 seeks to address this problem and alleviate the burden on Nebraskans.” 

There’s already a $35 cap on insulin prices only for those with Medicare. 

Similar caps have been passed in a number of other states, including Connecticut, Colorado and Illinois.

Those supporting the bill hope additional caps will increase access to the drug. 

The AARP, which spoke in support of the bills, conducted a survey in Nebraska.

“That survey showed that 29% of the Nebraska residents stopped taking medicine due to the cost, their diabetes medicine due to the cost,” said AARP Nebraska President Suzan DeCamp. “No one should have to choose from buying medicines or purchasing food for themselves or their families.” 

DeCamp said many people have had to resort to desperate means. 

“Many people who are on insulin are rationing theirs or else looking for prescriptions outside the country, trying to find other ways to be able to afford medicine,” she said. “Or they’re switching to alternate, lower-quality products.” 

Not having access to insulin can be a life-or-death situation. 

“Some people have even died because they have rationed insulin,” DeCamp said. 

If any of the bills are approved by the Legislature, the cap would be in place in January 2024. 

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