Gov. Tim Walz wants to call a special session to resolve one of the biggest unfinished issues left over from this year’s regular session: Insulin affordability measures.
If any issue calls for a special session, it’s this one. It can mean the difference between life and death for people, and we join our governor in urging House Democratic and Senate Republican leaders to negotiate a compromise on their insulin affordability proposals.
Interim legislative hearings have been held over the past couple of weeks on the competing proposals, which is certainly encouraging.
Bills approved by the House and Senate would have made insulin more affordable for diabetics who lack adequate insurance, but did not move forward in the final hours of negotiations, and efforts to restore the provision were rejected during a special session held to finalize budget bills.
Walz has told the legislators the quicker they can work out a resolution in conference committee, the quicker he can call a special session, with action limited to emergency health care issues.
News reports say the Senate GOP proposal would require drug manufacturers to provide free insulin for up to a year to diabetics whose income is low enough to qualify. The House Democratic proposal is similar to its earlier bill, which would provide a 90-day emergency insulin supplies to diabetics who can’t afford refills.
People with diabetes have indicated both proposals would help keep people from facing tough decisions, like Alec Smith, a 26-year-old uninsured Minneapolis man who died in 2017 of diabetic complications because he was rationing his insulin. The House bill is named after Smith.
We urge lawmakers to listen to those people whom would be impacted the most and have urged them to pass some sort of combination of the two.
It’s called compromise, and the results in these case will make a difference in Minnesotans’ lives. This is when it’s imperative that party affiliation and other differences among lawmakers be set aside.
Let’s get this important issue done and off the table now, so the approved measure may be put into use and help people.