St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House passed Senate File 2744, the state’s Commerce budget, sending the bill to Governor Walz for his anticipated signature. The legislation includes Rep. Michael Howard’s (DFL - Richfield) proposal to cap co-pays on medication treating chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma at $25. Howard said this legislation continues Minnesota’s leadership in the fight for affordable access to prescription drugs.
“This is a huge victory for Minnesota families who are forced to pay huge sums of money for life-necessary medications and supplies like insulin, asthma inhalers and epi-pens,” said Rep. Howard. “Big Pharma and health insurers have fought our effort for years, but they lost their veto card when Republicans lost power in the Minnesota legislature. With passage of this bill, we say to Minnesotans who are struggling with the crushing cost of prescription drugs that help is on the way.”
The bill requires health plans to limit co-pays for prescription drugs to treat chronic diseases at $25, or less, for one month’s supply. It also limits co-pays for medical supplies, including syringes, insulin pens, insulin pumps, test strips, glucometers, continuous glucose monitors, epinephrine auto-injectors, asthma inhalers, and other medical necessary supplies at $50 per month.
More than 400,000 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with asthma and more than 500,000 Minnesotans have either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. In 2020, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, providing access to affordable insulin on an emergency basis to any Minnesotan who needed it. A cap on co-pays for insulin is part of the unfinished business of that legislation to ensure an adequate safety net and affordable access to insulin for all Minnesotans. More information on Minnesota’s insulin safety net program can be found here.
The Commerce Budget bill, carried by Rep. Zack Stephenson, includes other important provisions to combat the high cost of prescription drugs, including a law banning price gouging and a nation-leading prescription drug affordability board.
Video of today’s debate on the bill can be found on the House Public Information YouTube channel.