Senator Mastriano E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Mastriano, Laughlin Introduce Legislation to Cap Insulin Costs
  • 2021-2022 Legislative Session Nears the Midway Point
  • Shopping Local Helps Neighbors, Strengthens Communities
  • Preparing Sites for Jobs: State Assistance is Available
  • Dealing with the Challenges of Driving in Snow
  • Remembering Pearl Harbor
  • Happy Hanukkah

Mastriano, Laughlin Introduce Legislation to Cap Insulin Costs

December 1, 2021 – HARRISBURG – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) and Senator Dan Laughlin (PA-49) have introduced legislation to combat out of control insulin costs in Pennsylvania. 

The Affordable Insulin Act (SB 957) will cap the price of insulin at $30 or less for an individual’s thirty-day supply of the life-sustaining medicine.

The bill will also direct the Attorney General to investigate pricing of insulin in Pennsylvania to ensure adequate pricing is achieved and determine if additional consumer protections are necessary. A report of the findings of the investigation will be made available to the public no later than one year after enactment.

1.4 million individuals in Pennsylvania, over 11% of the population, are currently diagnosed with diabetes.  Additionally, 3.5 million Pennsylvanians have pre-diabetes and an estimated 89,000 are newly diagnosed each year. These individuals often rely on insulin to survive and manage their blood sugar.

“Nobody suffering from diabetes in our Commonwealth should be forced to ration their life-sustaining insulin,” Senator Mastriano said. “The patent for insulin has been around for close to 100 years and yet out of pocket costs continue to rise. Especially in a time of high inflation, the General Assembly must take action to make insulin more affordable for the growing number of our residents suffering from diabetes. SB 957 will accomplish that and look to future solutions by instituting an investigation of the insulin supply chain as a whole.”

“Individuals with diabetes have medical expenses approximately 2.3 times higher than those who do not, and total direct medical expenses for diagnosed diabetes in Pennsylvania were estimated at $9.3 billion in 2017,” said Sen. Laughlin. “For people with diabetes who require insulin and currently struggle with its cost, this legislation will make it more accessible and affordable.”

Passage of SB 957 would have Pennsylvania join over 20 other states who have recently enacted laws to institute caps on insulin co-pays. 

The bill has been referred to the Banking and Insurance Committee where it now awaits a vote.

2021-2022 Legislative Session Nears the Midway Point

The first year of the 2021-2022 legislative session is coming to a close with enactment of several key measures and more work to do in the second year.

This fall, the Senate passed bills to ease nursing home staff shortages, enable more schools to combat pandemic learning loss, help farmers transport goods and make home deliveries, and make political campaigns more transparent.

That’s just a sample. I’ll highlight these and other bills in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can check a complete rundown here.

Shopping Local Helps Neighbors, Strengthens Communities

Small businesses create 65% of jobs in Pennsylvania, and these local employers could use our help this holiday shopping season.

Shopping local doesn’t just help the local economy, it builds relationships within the community. Buying from business owners you trust makes shopping experiences more enjoyable because you know where the products are coming from and the people behind those products.

When you shop locally, many of the goods and services are locally sourced or crafted. This means that many of the items are one of a kind and carry a unique story. It’s not always possible, but when you can, I hope you will support your local employers this season and year-round.

Preparing Sites for Jobs: State Assistance is Available

Municipalities, municipal authorities, redevelopment authorities, industrial development agencies and private developers can apply now for funding to prepare sites for jobs-producing development.

The Business in Our Sites program has no maximum or minimum loan amount. However, the amount of the grant may not exceed $4 million or 40% of the total combined grant and loan award, whichever is less. Private developers are only eligible for loans.

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2022. The program is overseen by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Dealing with the Challenges of Driving in Snow

No one wants to get behind the wheel when it’s snowing, but sometimes we have no choice. PennDOT offers tips for driving in wintry conditions:

  • Beware of roads that may look wet, but are actually frozen, often referred to as “black ice.”
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.
  • State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your wipers are in use.
  • Use your low beams in particularly bad weather, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.

You can also find ideas for preparing your vehicle for winter weather and creating a winter emergency kit.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. The surprise strike would cost the lives of more than 2,400 military personnel and civilians.

We mark this date knowing that while the attack decimated America’s Pacific fleet, our resilience and industrial might would allow the U.S. to build a military force powerful enough to defeat the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany.

“This war will give us much trouble in the future,” said Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. “The fact that we have had a small success at Pearl Harbor is nothing.” On Tuesday, we will remember the lives lost 80 years ago, and note the fate that awaits any adversary who questions American resolve.

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah ends at sundown Monday evening, wrapping up an observance that this year began Nov. 28.

To everyone celebrating Hanukkah, chag urim sameach, “Happy Festival of Lights.”

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