Humalog with an Omnipod pump and Dexcom 6 CGM, Atorvastatin, Benazepril, Ropinirole, and Citalopram.
When Harry was 23 years old and a father of three young children, he suddenly lost significant weight and was hospitalized for nine days. As a type 1 diabetic on long-acting insulin, his doctor told him he would have to stop working as an HVAC contractor because the physical activity was life-threatening.
Through the years, Harry often worried about how he would be able to afford his medication, although he or his wife was able to secure employer-sponsored health insurance. Unfortunately, his diabetic son couldn’t afford his medication and began to ration his doses, which led to his death. “I used to have three kids; now I have two,” says Harry. “I’ve offered to speak to the Congress and if/when I do, I’ll have a pic of me and my son who died last year and ask them why it’s okay for someone like him to have died for being unable to afford a bottle of insulin that costs $7 to make. I never get a good answer to that from drug makers and they try to say they have programs that cost $95 a bottle. That’s still about a markup of 14 times. I wish I could bring my son back, but now I have to settle for helping other people in the same boat as he was. The bottom line is that if you don’t have the money to buy it, then you die.”
Harry worked as a social worker and refused to retire out of fear of Medicare’s inability to negotiate lower drug prices for people like him. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2020, Harry was forced into retirement and onto Medicare. As he feared, the coverage is not enough to meet his needs. He now only gets 30 day doses of his insulin, and there is a five-day gap between when his medication runs out and then gets his refill. “I could die in between there,” Harry said. Harry plays soccer to stay active and recently had a game in that five-day gap. He said his blood sugar level fell dangerously low.
Harry also fears what will happen if the Affordable Care Act ends because he has a pre-existing condition.