AARP calls for insulin cap in Iowa

The AARP says a federal law to cap insulin prices has gaps, and that some Iowans are still...
The AARP says a federal law to cap insulin prices has gaps, and that some Iowans are still paying too high a price for the drug.(KTIV)
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:01 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The AARP is pushing state lawmakers, in Des Moines, to cap the cost of insulin for Iowans on state insurance plans.

The organization says the federal government already has a cap for those who use Medicare Part D, but there are gaps for those on state insurance. The AARP said almost 250,000 Iowans use state-regulated insurance. And for those who use insulin, there’s no cap on the cost of the drug.

“Such a cap has been passed in the House previously, in 2021. It is received broad bipartisan support in the past and we believe the time has come to get this bill to the finish line,” said Brad Anderson, the state director for the AARP in Iowa.

Dr. Anuj Bhargava, an endocrinologist here in Iowa, said an insulin cap isn’t just a want, it’s a need. He said one in four patients is rationing insulin because the drug is too expensive.

“(What) I say is simply this, this is not acceptable. We’re in the United States. We’re in the great state of Iowa, it is simply not acceptable, that people are finding it hard to afford insulin,” said Dr. Bhargava.

An AARP spokesperson said the state House passed the insulin cap bill in 2021 with only two lawmakers voting against it. But the bill never made it to the state Senate floor, and so it never became law.

“Americans continue to pay the highest costs for insulin in the entire world. And again, insulin has gone up about 600% in price over the last 20 years,” said Anderson.

An AARP spokesperson said any insulin cap for private insurers, that’s those who don’t have government-sponsored health insurance, would need to be passed by the federal government.