My son was 18 months old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Shortly afterwards he had took his first stepsI learned that his pancreas did not produce insulin – a chemical he needs to survive – on his own. The good news is that with the right medication, my son can live a healthy and normal life – as long as he can afford it.
He depends on Humalog insulin to survive. A Humalog vial costs more than $ 350. Although we can afford it through his health insurance plan, I live in constant fear of what we would do if he lost health insurance. So, I’ve joined concerned Maine parents and asked lawmakers to get the law off the ground To make health care work for the Maine package at the recent public hearing.
Like most Mainers, I am all too familiar with the high price of prescription drugs. As a mother, sister, daughter, and health care worker, I’ve seen the price of life-saving drugs spiral out of reach and endanger the health of the people I love and care about. Something has to change. With these five bills, I hope Mainers can finally get some relief.
You see, the struggle to afford insulin is not new to me. Growing up with a brother with type 1 diabetes, I watched my mom and dad go out of their way to make ends meet and cover my brother’s insulin bills. This sometimes meant cutting back on food or making choices to make sure our family could come by.
For my brother as an adult, it has only gotten more difficult. He has had to change the type of insulin he takes based on the price and has even resorted to rationing insulin vials when in an emergency. Nobody should live like this or have to make such decisions.
This is not the life I want for my son. No mother should worry if her smart, loving, and curious child’s life is cut short because the price of their medication goes up overnight or because they simply cannot afford it for a month.
The Making Health Care Work for Maine package would create an emergency insulin program and save lives. LD 673 would ensure Mainers had insulin available at a maximum cost of $ 35 in an emergency. As a mother, it would make sure that my worst fears are never realized.
However, this invoice is only part of the package. The rest of the suggestions – LD 120, LD 1117, LD 686 and LD 675 – Take action against price cuts, hold drug companies accountable, and make prescription drugs more affordable for Mainers like my family.
Two years ago my father became seriously ill. The doctors told us he needed dialysis and lots of medication to survive. When my father finally made the decision not to receive these treatments, I knew part of his reason was that he didn’t want the family to have another medical expense to think about. I knew he was thinking about my brother’s insulin and my mother’s limited income. I hate to think about the possibility that my dad could feel like a burden at the end of his life – all because of our constant stress over prescription bills and medical bills.
I wish my family’s story was unique, but it is far from it. I worked as a domestic servant for years. Every week I saw other families face the same familiar pain and struggles as health care and prescription drug costs continued to rise. Instead of comforting themselves in retirement, my customers were constantly worried about their next visit to the pharmacy.
It’s time for things to change and it starts with the adoption of the Making Health Care Work for Maine package.
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