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Insulin users still in need of relief

Several weeks ago Minnesota government leaders seemed close to a deal on providing relief for diabetics who can’t afford the high cost of their life-saving insulin. An emergency program would be set up to provide a 90-day supply of insulin to those who can’t afford it. It’s an idea that got some mileage in the last legislative session, and one with bipartisan support, but it didn’t make it through the Senate.

Talks and hearings have been continuing through the summer, and DFL leaders in the Minnesota House say they will have an insulin relief bill ready at the end of the month.

The big question is how to pay for it. Gov. Tim Walz and Democrats in the Legislature would raise money through fees on the pharmaceutical companies who make the insulin and others in the pipeline. Republicans are adamantly against that kind of tax or fee.

Some health insurance companies are offering to make insulin available to their customers with affordable co-pays starting in 2020, but there’s a lot of time between now and then for diabetic patients who are struggling to come up with the cash for their medicine.

We hope legislators can come up with an agreeable plan, and that Gov. Walz can call a quick special session to help people on the cusp of life-and-death decisions on their medication.

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