Sen. Andy Manar

CHICAGO – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) introduced a new measure to cap the skyrocketing costs of prescription insulin for Illinoisans with diabetes, which has garnered support from Governor JB Pritzker.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege,” said Pritzker. “As we work to address the high cost of prescription drugs that are burdening millions all across our state, this legislation is an essential step in the right direction toward fulfilling our promise to put state government back on the side of working families.”

Senate Bill 667 would cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply.

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 7.4 million Americans require prescription insulin every day to survive, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, the price of insulin has climbed sharply in recent years, driving many patients to sacrifice other daily needs to pay for insulin or ration their supply.

Manar, who introduced the legislation, recalled speaking with a constituent who had to choose between making her house payment and paying for her children’s insulin.

“It’s an interesting question, and not in a good way,” Manar said. “How much would you pay to keep yourself alive? How much would you pay to keep your children alive?”

Senators Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and Robert Peters (D-Chicago) stood with Pritzker and Manar to support the bill’s passage and hear from individuals who have struggled with rising insulin costs.

“For my future, if this keeps going the way it’s going, I’m very scared,” said Emilija Irvin, a 17-year-old from Downers Grove who hopes to study music performance in college. Irvin worries that her chosen career path will make it difficult to get insurance to cover her insulin costs.

“We need to make insulin a right, and not a privilege,” Irvin said. “Being able to live your best life, being able to live at all, shouldn’t be a privilege.”

Stadelman, whose son is a Type 1 diabetic, called the prohibitive costs of life-saving insulin “just plain wrong.” He also noted that diabetics avoid lasting health complications by using insulin to regulate their glucose levels.

“We’ll save money long-term by reducing the cost of insulin right now,” Stadelman said.

Manar plans to call the bill for a vote during veto session in October and hopes the measure will receive bipartisan support.