It’s estimated that there are more than 250,000 Nevadans who depend on insulin to survive — but the price of the medication is steep.
Now, a piece of federal legislation could cap the cost for Nevadans and diabetics across the country.
U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto are co-sponsoring the Affordable Insulin Now Act. The legislation would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month or charge 25% of an insurance plan's negotiated price — whichever option ends up being more affordable.
“It's the comfort of knowing you can access the medications when you need it. It’s the comfort of knowing that it’s there and you don’t have any worries about it," Cortez Masto told KTNV. "When the price fluctuates and it’s out of your control or your price range, then you’re rationing. That is the worst position for anybody to be in, to have to ration their medication."
Advocates for the legislation point to data from the Health Care Cost Institute, which shows the cost of insulin doubled between 2012 and 2016.
Yarelies Pino has a son living with type 1 diabetes. She said she felt the impacts of the price hikes first hand when her son ran out of insulin before his next prescription was supposed to be filled.
Pino went to the pharmacy to buy more — but was told it would cost more than $400 out of pocket.
“I couldn’t afford it. It was just too much money," Pino said. "I started asking around and a family friend who has a daughter with diabetes was able to share the insulin with me. I was thankful because my son can’t live without his medication."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently announced he will put the bipartisan bill up for a vote on the Senate floor soon.
President Joe Biden has previously said he supports capping the monthly cost.