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Oregon Senate bill would limit price of insulin

Woman speaks into microphone while two men listen in background in Senate Chambers.
Oregon State Legislature
Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem, speaks in support of SB 1508 on Tuesday in Salem.

The Oregon Senate Tuesday passed a bill that would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. Senate Bill 1508 would also limit the cost to $105 for a 90-day supply.

Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem, spoke in favor of the measure on the Senate floor. She said it would make the life-saving drug more affordable and accessible for Oregonians.

“If people cannot afford their medications, the result is that many ration their doses or go without,” said Patterson. “Which can result in costly complications and hospitalizations.”

Her colleague, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, also spoke in support of the measure prior to a vote on the Senate floor.

“The idea that we as a state have to take action so that people can actually afford to live, can afford to keep their vision, can afford to keep their kidney function, can afford not to lose their foot because they don’t have adequate circulation, is shameful,” Steiner said.

The bill received bipartisan support and was approved 27-to-3. It now goes to the Oregon House.

The bill would also keep the Health Evidence Review Commission and Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee from using the Quality Adjusted Life Years, or QALY formula to determine coverage for those on Medicaid and Medicare. Patterson said QALY discriminates against people with disabilities.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.