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Hirono advocates for federal bill that would cap insulin price

Just because you use insulin doesn't mean you have Type 1 diabetes.
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Dealing with the state’s already high cost of living in addition to paying hundreds for medication can be particularly straining on people with diabetes, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said.

Last month, Hirono co-sponsored the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which features a $35 a month cap on insulin.

A cap of $35 a month, she said, would make a “huge difference to so many families and people in our state, many of whom are paying $500 out of pocket for insulin every month is what they're facing.”

Earlier this week, she met with the American Diabetes Association Hawai’i Chapter during a two-week effort to connect with local community members during a Congressional recess.

“One of the people I talked with was a mother whose 7-year-old child just got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,” Hirono said during a Wednesday interview. “She is now facing the high cost of insulin and all the other things that they need to attend to. As she says, not just the cost of insulin, but it's all the other equipment that is necessary to make sure her child stays healthy.”

Diabetes is particularly pronounced in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

Hawai’i Health Matters reports that 13.8% of Native Hawaiians and 15.3% of Pacific Islanders have diabetes.

The state’s aging population, Hirono said, is also vulnerable, with about 10.5% of Hawai’i residents over 18 with diabetes.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act would require coverage of insulin dosage, whether that’s a pen or vial at the $35 a month price point. If it passes, coverage for all insulin products would begin in 2025.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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