W.Va. House passes bill to make significant cuts to cost of diabetes treatment

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) – Lawmakers in Charleston are taking steps to cut some of the rising costs of treating diabetes.

The price of insulin, monitoring devices, and pumps can cost some West Virginians more than a $1,000 a month. The state has the highest prevalence of the disease with more than 240,000 residents affected, according to the latest numbers from the DHHR.

In the House of Delegates on Wednesday, lawmakers passed a bill that would cap many of the costs associated with treating the disease.

“I fully support it, and I hope the rest of you will too,” said Del. Joe Ellington, (R) 27th Dist., prior to his passage.

Other lawmakers such as Del. Ed Evans, (D) 26th Dist. shared stories from constituents who are having to make tough decisions between the life-saving medication and other necessary expenses such as food. “I thank all of my colleagues. Let’s get this done.”

The bill that passed in the house would cap the monthly price of insulin at $35, monitoring equipment at $100, and pumps at $250 dollars.

“Insulin pumps could be thousands of dollars. Now how much the patient pays depends on their insurance coverage. We’re now capping that at one time for $250 dollars for two years. If you need more, the cap doesn’t apply,” explained the bill’s sponsor, Del. Matthew Rohrbach, (R) 17th Dist.

For many West Virginians, the lawmakers said it is not just legislation, it’s a lifeline to survival.

“As a physician, I’ve dealt with people with diabetes my whole career. It’s a crippling disease. Unfortunately, we lead the nation in the prevalence of diabetes. This is a real bill to help a large number of West Virginians,” said Del. Rohrback.

The measure passed by a vote of 93-3 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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