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An Open Question for Sen. Housley on Insulin Affordability: What Changed?

In May 2019, Sen. Housley voted against the Emergency Insulin Act, which failed 34-33. She claimed “there was already a program in place”. But now she is claiming something different – and I’m perplexed. So, I have an open question: What changed?


My campaign for MN state senate is grounded in the importance of honest and nuanced conversation. It's at the heart of what makes our democratic republic work. And in that spirit, I have a question for Sen. Karin Housley, and hoping she can answer for fellow residents here in district 39:


What changed between May 24th and September 20th?


In a special session last May, Sen. Housley voted against an amendment making insulin more affordable for Minnesotans like Alec Smith – who died while rationing his insulin in 2017. The amendment failed by one vote – 34-33.


On the heels of voting against the amendment, Housley claimed “there was already a program in place” which would have helped people like Smith.

But fast forward to Sept. 20th. Housley took to social media to take credit for the announcement of a Republican sponsored bill for Insulin assistance. Ok, I thought, this is interesting - and could be good - considering what she had said just 4 months prior.


In the video, she said things like:

“This bill goes a long, long way in addressing the insulin affordability issue in our state”

and

“I hope that Gov. Walz and House Democrats are as serious about it as we are”


Leaving the partisanship aside for a moment, I’m most curious about what seems to be a dramatic shift in position from May to now.


Why? If “there was already a program in place”, why would Sen. Housley now insist there is an insulin affordability crisis in the state?


To Sen. Housley:

It’s one thing if you felt the bill was flawed and various amendments were needed. But your position at the time was clear: that insulin affordability didn't need to be addressed. You rationalized your “no” vote on the basis that there was a "program in place".


What changed?


And now... she is suggesting that Gov. Walz and House Democrats - who have campaigned on this issue for years - don't take the issue seriously. That doesn't seem to be bi-partisan or intellectually honest.


Do I believe Sen. Housley doesn’t care about people who can’t currently afford insulin? No.

But I do I question the decision-making and take issue with the tone.


I've had my own healthcare battles - including being on dialysis and receiving a kidney transplant while I was out of work. I believe we need to work together to systematically change our health care system – and insulin affordability is an important piece of that discussion.


But perhaps the most important element is engaging in good-faith conversation with all sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing that with Senator Housley.


While I truly hope we can create bi-partisan legislation to make insulin more affordable for Minnesotans, I would like to know what changed from last May - when there was an opportunity to do just that – and my state senator voted “no”.


This district, our state, and - especially - those struggling to pay for insulin deserve so much better from our elected officials.

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