DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado is now only the second state in the country to cap the price of insulin for all diabetics. A new law is aimed at addressing the skyrocketing cost of the life-saving medication.
While it’s been around for more than a hundred years, insulin has more than doubled in price in the last few years. A study by the Attorney General found 40 percent of diabetics in Colorado are rationing their insulin because it’s so expensive.
Rep. Dylan Roberts decided enough was enough and – with the help of a determined diabetic – did something no one else at the Capitol had dared to do. He capped the price of insulin for every diabetic regardless of whether they have insurance or not.
As Gov. Jared Polis signed the new law Tuesday, Gail Devore felt liberated.
“This bill is a miracle and an answer for so many people in Colorado who need insulin and haven’t been able get it,” Devore said.
A diabetic, she says, her insulin costs more than $1,400 a month. For years, she’s sounded an alarm about the unaffordability of a drug she can’t afford to live without.
“At times it felt like a futile attempt to make some changes, but if you give up as diabetic, you die. There is no giving up,” she said.
Devore found an ally in Roberts.
“We do a lot bills every session and some of them are more technical, or more procedural,” Roberts said. “But this one is one that hits you in the heart and in the gut and makes you feel like you’re doing something for the state of Colorado.”
Two years ago, Roberts passed a first in the nation law that capped insulin co-pays for those on the individual, small and large group markets. The new law helps every diabetic, including the uninsured. They will pay no more than $50 for a thirty day supply of insulin and, once a year, can get an emergency one month supply for $35.
Roberts carries the bill in memory of his brother. He died from a fall related to a diabetic seizure. No one, he says, should die from a lack of insulin,
“If you don’t have your insulin, it’s like not having oxygen. It’s something they have to purchase regardless of the price and the price right now is just too unaffordable for too many people.”
People like Gail Devore.
“I couldn’t be more grateful,” she told CBS4.
The new law takes effect Jan. 1.