Illinois moves in right direction, caps insulin costs

Sara Rand, opinion editor

Diabetes is a disease caused by high blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, that helps glucose from food get into the cells in the body to be used for energy. The body needs insulin to survive, but with diabetes a body doesn’t have enough insulin to do just that.
Therefore, most people who suffer from the disease use prescription insulin to regulate their glucose levels. But out- of- pocket prices for the prescription were at about $450 in 2016, according to a study from the Health Care Cost Institute. That means that despite what insurance covered, people were still paying around $450 monthly from their own wallets.
But Illinois is changing. Following the lead of Colorado earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers have approved a $100 cap on out- of- pocket insulin prices. This new law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
I believe the Illinois legislation was headed in the right direction with their focus, but they failed to include those who might need the new law most.
It’s been estimated only about 20 percent of diabetics in Illinois will be affected by the bill, according to the State Journal Register.
But these changes would only apply to those covered by commercial insurance plans regulated by the state, not including any insurance paid for by the government. Meaning that any employer insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare are not affected by the change.
According to the Chicago Tribune, over 1 million people in Illinois have diabetes. But some cannot afford the insulin prescriptions that come with the condition and end up mismanaging their diabetes because they are forced to skip multiple doses, which is very unsafe for their health, because they can only afford so many prescriptions.
I believe for those who have the right insurance this is a good step forward but for those who can’t afford the right insurance it doesn’t change anything. For this to work to help everyone, it should be part of federal legislation so that it can include all those who need it.
We should support medical problems as a right to receive the proper treatment and not a privilege based on how much someone can afford.