Concord, NH — Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined Protect Our Care NH and Granite State Progress to discuss the recent passage of the Affordable Insulin Now Act by the House. If passed by the Senate, this legislation will deliver much-needed relief to millions of diabetics across the country. The Affordable Insulin Now Act caps out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 per month for millions of diabetics with private insurance and Medicare coverage. Approximately 113,110 people in New Hampshire, or 10.1% of the adult population, have been diagnosed with diabetes.
All House Democrats voted for the legislation, helping their constituents who struggle to afford their insulin to manage their diabetes. The rising cost of prescription drugs is a top concern among Granite Staters. Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) are helping families across the country find relief at the pharmacy counter. Drug company greed has forced millions of diabetics to pay outrageous prices for the medications they need to survive. Even when insulin vials only cost a few dollars to produce, drug companies have hiked the price to hundreds of dollars per month, forcing too many patients to ration insulin and skip doses altogether. The Affordable Insulin Now Act will put more money in families’ pockets and give them peace of mind knowing they won’t have to choose between purchasing this lifesaving medication and putting food on the table.
“I consistently hear from Granite State families about how the rising costs of insulin are forcing them to put their health at risk by cutting back on doses or skipping them altogether because it’s just too expensive,”said Rep. Kuster. “New Hampshire families should not face impossible decisions between their medications and their well-being. That’s why I was proud to help pass the Affordable Insulin Now Act to ensure no one pays more than $35 a month for their insulin. I’m proud to work with Granite State advocates and Protect Our Care NH to get this done for people in our state and across the country.”
Stefany Shaheen, Granite State Diabetes Advocate, said, “[Insulin] is a lifeline, it actually keeps people alive. To be in a place in the USA where families would have to think about a lifesaving drug and whether they could afford it, and making the trade-offs between the roof over their head, or being able to afford their kid's college tuition, and medication. These are not choices families should have to make.”
Dr. Randy Hayes, Co-convener, Kent Street Coalition Healthcare Working Group, said, “This is an enormous step forward at a time where many people feel so discouraged by the power of the way legislation is controlled by special interest groups. One out of every four dollars that America spends on healthcare is spent in relation to diabetes. This is not only an issue for the individual patient, this is an issue for the healthcare system.”
Ed Shanshala, CEO, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, said, “Insulin is just an example, a very poignant example, epi-pens follow in the same category. The system is broken.”
Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director, Granite State Progress, said, “We’re really hoping to be able to expand upon this, that having Medicare being able to negotiate for the cost of prescription drugs can help lower some of those costs would also be helpful for families. Sometimes these prescriptions have been on the market for years and families are still being priced out.”