LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock resident, Jennifer Tollett, raises her phone to her arm. Beneath her sleeve, is a patch that measures her glucose levels. Tollett said she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was 23 years old. During her second pregnancy, she became dependent on insulin.
“I became pregnant with my first child I was put on insulin, but I was able to get off after the pregnancy. But when I got pregnant with my second, I went on insulin and I wasn’t able to get off afterwards,” Tollett said.
Tollett said she pays about $400 dollars a month for insulin medication, but that’s not the most she’s spent on insulin.
“Close to $600 and towards the end of my pregnancy, when I got worse, we were playing close to $700 just for insulin costs,” Tollett said.
On Tuesday, House Bill 40 was introduced. The original bill capped the price at $100 per thirty-day supply of insulin. An amendment to the original bill was made to lower the cost to $50 but has not been passed out of committee, according to State Rep. James Talarico’s office.
Round Rock Rep. Talarico introduced the bill on Tuesday after sharing his experience of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“Would cap out of pocket costs for insulin at $50 a month and require HHSC and the attorney general’s office to investigate rising insulin prices,” Rep. Talarico said in a press conference Tuesday.
Tollett said a $50 price cap is unimaginable.
“It’s unimaginable you know just because of how much we’re spending right now if I go the pharmacy and that’s all I’m spending, that’s insane to me,” Tollett said about the proposed cap price.
Tollett said although she has not had to ration insulin, she knows the cost could help so many people.
“It’s unfortunate that something that was intended to be free and hasn’t been changed in so long is so unobtainable,” Tollett said.
The bill is a bipartisan and bicameral effort, said Talarico.
Tollett said she hopes it will pass.
“We talk so much about how diabetes is mismanaged and I think that people forget that sometimes it’s not affordable for people and it’s totally unrealistic for them to spend that much,” Tollett said.
The bill currently has bipartisan support, including Texas Rep. John Frullo.