Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) joined a bipartisan group of Members of the House of Representatives to introduce legislation to require an examination of the health and economic impacts of skyrocketing insulin prices.

The bipartisan bill would require the government to study and report the scope of the problems created across healthcare by the rise in insulin costs, which are up more than 600% in recent years and have increasingly led to patient rationing of the drug.

“As the cost of insulin continues to rise, it’s important for Members of Congress to investigate the role we can play in addressing the affordability of this life-sustaining drug,” said Rep. Guest (MS-03). “That is why I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to introduce legislation that would help identify opportunities to address the high costs of insulin.”

U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (MN-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Dean Phillips (MN-03) and Guest introduced the bill.

The Insulin Affordability Data Collection Act would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study rates of diabetic ketoacidosis—which took the life of Minnesotan Alec Smith two years ago after the high cost of insulin forced him to ration his doses.  It would also direct HHS investigators to look into how high insulin prices make it more difficult for people with diabetes to adhere to their insulin prescriptions, and to calculate the economic impact on Federal health programs of not adhering to treatment protocol due to affordability issues.

The Insulin Affordability Data Collection Act would require the HHS Secretary through the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to conduct a study that examines the impact of the affordability of insulin on individuals who are insulin-dependent. Specifically, this study will investigate the impact of the affordability of insulin products on:

  • Adherence to insulin prescriptions;
  • Rates of diabetic ketoacidosis;
  • Downstream impacts of insulin adherence (e.g. rates of dialysis treatment and end-stage renal disease);
  • Spending by Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal health programs on acute care episodes that could be averted by adhering to an insulin prescription; and
  • Other factors, as appropriate.

This bill would further separate instances of insulin affordability by an individual’s insurance status. Under this legislation, ASPE would be required to submit this report to Congress within two years of enactment. The bill is supported by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and T1 International.

Release from Congressman Michael Guest.