I am a Colorado parent, grandparent, and senior who has lived in Colorado for more than 25 years. I have also been living as a type 1 diabetic for 53 years. I will never forget the year I was diagnosed,1969, because I had to spend Thanksgiving that year in the hospital.
What many people don’t fully appreciate is that managing diabetes is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no break. That’s because insulin is absolutely critical to live. The difference between people with diabetes like myself and other Coloradans is that most people just make their own insulin, and I have to buy mine.
Unfortunately, over the years, I have watched the cost of that insulin, again something that people rely on to live, increase drastically. Especially now, being retired and on a fixed income, I worry about where prices will end up.
But my story is not unique. Rising healthcare costs are weighing on many people’s minds. Insulin cost increases have been so severe, we as a diabetic community have created support groups to help people who are between jobs and without insurance or struggling to make ends meet, access the medication they need to live. That’s not even considering the costs of other critical medical tools like pumps and glucose monitors.
That’s why the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is so important for families like mine and countless people across the state. The Inflation Reduction Act includes the most significant expansion of affordable healthcare in more than a decade, and this legislation will deliver meaningful healthcare savings to thousands of seniors and working families.
This historic legislation lowers premium costs for 13 million Americans who purchase coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, including nearly 150,000 Coloradans. It also gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, and 80 prescription drugs will have Medicare price negotiation by 2030. The bill caps senior out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for nearly 19,000 Medicare Part D enrollees in Colorado, and it limits the cost of insulin to $35 a month for people on Medicare like me.
By capping the price of insulin for Medicare patients, we can help ensure that seniors on fixed incomes across the country don’t have to choose between eating and purchasing their medicine. Colorado has already taken steps to cap the cost of insulin, and it’s a relief to see the federal government follow in our footsteps.
I recently joined a nationwide bus tour in Denver, hosted by Protect Our Care, to celebrate the passage of this bill and the real progress it makes to reduce the costs of health care. While some of the stories of my fellow patient advocates are disheartening, it’s great to feel like we are finally making progress and being heard by our representatives in Congress. Diabetes is an incredibly expensive disease that patients must live with for life. The next step now is to fight to ensure that there is a cap on insulin costs for all people living with diabetes in this country.