Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) announced that he nearly died before being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a 2018 press conference announcing laws to regulate the cost of insulin.
Austin, Texas – – Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) announced that he nearly died before being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a 2018 press conference announcing laws to regulate the cost of insulin.
Talarico, along with MP Four Price (R-Amarillo), announced that HB 40 would cap the cost of insulin to $ 50 per month. The bill would also require the Texas Attorney General to investigate rising insulin prices.
According to Talarico’s office, HB 40 already has 38 Texas House Republicans and 64 Democrats, a Texas House super-major.
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At the conference, Talarico spoke about his experience in May 2018 when he was 28 years old and running for the seat he now holds. He was hospitalized after a campaign rally during which he ran 25 miles the length of his district.
In a long Twitter thread, Talarico shared more about his experience and said: “Halfway through, I felt sick and tired. In front of the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom.”
After his walk, he said he went to sleep but slept for a day and a half and his parents took him to the hospital to have his blood sugar checked. “A normal blood sugar level is below 100,” tweeted Talarico. “Mine was 900. I was immediately diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.”
After testing his blood sugar, doctors found that he had diabetic ketoacidosis, a fatal condition that causes coma and death without insulin. After 5 days in the intensive care unit, he recovered completely and can now successfully manage his new condition with a blood glucose meter on his arm and daily insulin shots. The next year he completed another 40 km walk through his district.
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Even with health insurance, I paid $ 684 for my first 30-day supply of insulin – the medicine I need to live. I had to write it on a credit card, “said Talarico at the press conference.” Over the past 20 years, the price of insulin has increased by 1200%. Today I put laws in place to limit the price of insulin to $ 50 per month as access to insulin is a human right. “
Further in the thread, Talarico outlined three main reasons for the massive price hike: the lack of competition, the monopoly of the global insulin market by three companies, and the fact that there is no generic version of insulin.
In addition to HB 40, Talarico co-authored HB 18 with Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress), which would make insulin available to uninsured Texans at a discounted rate.
Talarico says Texas would be the 16th state to cap the price of insulin if HB 40 passed, and Washington, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, Maine, Vermont, New York joins Hampshire, Massachusetts and Delaware. He also says Texas would be the largest state to do this as well.