Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

Back to profile

Minnesota House and Senate conferees reach agreement on insulin affordability legislation

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, members of the House and Senate Insulin Conference Committee approved the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, an emergency insulin program accessible to the Minnesotans who need it most. The landmark legislation is named after Alec Smith, who lost his life because he could not afford his insulin. The legislation ensures that Minnesotans have access to affordable insulin if they face an emergency, with insulin manufacturers participating in the solution. The insulin conference committee held a conference committee meeting to walk through the agreement and signed the conference committee report.

“Alec’s Bill is our commitment to Minnesotans that never again should someone lose their life because they can’t afford their insulin,” said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL - Richfield), chief author in the House. “I am eternally grateful to the Smith-Holt family and the fierce insulin warriors whose advocacy made this bill possible.” 

“Our family is grateful for the hard work and dedication from members of the Minnesota Legislature who have worked hard side-by-side with the MNinsulin4all advocates to finally create a bill that will save lives,” said Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt. “Alec’s death has led us down a path that will ultimately lead to saving the lives of others who are in an emergency situation. Our deepest gratitude goes to those who believe in our mission. Thank you.”

The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act will ensure that Minnesotans who cannot afford their insulin and are facing an emergency need can access a 30-day supply at their pharmacy for a  co-pay of $35. Eligible Minnesotans include those who are uninsured, under-insured, receiving Medicare and do not have access to low co-pays. The legislation also streamlines the process by which Minnesotans can access affordable insulin in the long-term. Insulin manufacturers would participate in the program and could be fined up to $3.6 million a year, doubling in the second year, for non-compliance. 

“I am gratified that Representative Howard and I were able to get this across the goal line with unanimous support of the conference committee,” said Sen. Scott Jensen. “I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Gazelka and Speaker Hortman for providing the traction needed to achieve this goal that will serve all Minnesotans.”

“My focus over the past 15-plus months has been to get to agreement on a bill that will help those who struggle to afford their insulin and are facing life-threatening consequences due to the extremely high costs they face,” said Sen. Melissa Halverson Wiklund (DFL - Bloomington). “The agreement we have reached in the conference committee report will help those in urgent need of insulin and assist others who need an affordable solution for a longer term.”  

The Minnesota Legislature could pass the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability act as soon as Tuesday, March 14, when the Legislature is scheduled to return to the floor.