Statement from Sen. Michelle Benson on the bipartisan health and human services bill

Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) released the following statement on the bipartisan health and human services budget bill:

“Putting the Omnibus HHS budget bill together was a difficult task for everyone involved. The Senate fought hard and made sacrifices to keep many measures to reduce the cost of insulin and other life-saving drugs. The cost of insulin has been turned into a political punching bag to the detriment of patients and I find it disingenuous for Rep. Liebling to immediately blame others for a specific provision being left out of the bill. We worked off the negotiating spreadsheet where all financial provisions- including the fees raised and spent for the insulin program- should have been tracked.

“The Republican Senate passed many bills this session dealing with insulin and other prescription drugs. I have heard from families with concerns about insulin along with the disability community, nursing homes, child care providers, and thousands of other Minnesotans who want something out of our budget. But millions of Minnesotans are depending on us to finish this bill and we need to move forward on the agreed upon budget.”

The HHS budget agreement includes the following measures to assist diabetics and others who depend on life-saving medication:

  • Require pharmacies to provide emergency access to insulin and other life-saving drugs if their prescription runs out.
  • Discounts must be made available to patients at the point of sale
  • Prevent health insurance plans from making a profit on insulin medication

The Senate and House also passed legislation regulating Prescription Benefit Managers (PBM) this session that will help patients purchasing insulin and other drugs.

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