WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the Senate considers the Build Back Better Act, three patient advocates from across the country shared their stories about the impact of high insulin prices directly with the president and vice president. Iesha, from Phoenix, shared her story about living with type 1 diabetes and introduced President Biden today ahead of his remarks on how the Build Back Better Act will lower prescription drug prices. President Biden also mentioned Sa’Ra, from Indianapolis, who lives with type 1 diabetes and met with the president earlier today. The White House released a video of patient advocate Gail, from Denver, who spoke with President Biden over the summer and also spoke with Vice President Harris recently about the need to get the Build Back Better Act across the finish line.  

Below is more information about Iesha, Sa’Ra, and Gail.

Iesha, from Phoenix, lives with type 1 diabetes. She was forced to ration her insulin because she could not afford it, until she ended up at the hospital in a diabetic coma. Iesha recovered but continues to live with worries that her circumstances could change at any moment. When she recently switched jobs, her copay for the same insulin jumped from $35 to $50 a month. The Build Back Better Act would provide her consistency and the knowledge that no matter what insurance she is on, her insulin copay will be $35 a month per prescription.  
“President Biden gets it. He has a plan,” Iesha said today in her introduction. “For me, President Biden’s Build Back Better Act would mean peace of mind. I know how fast our circumstances in life can change. In addition to my illness, I’m plagued with the fear that I may not be able to afford my insulin again. I want to see a future where young people like me don’t have our lives revolve around our prescription drugs and we don’t have to make career and life choices around insurance benefits. That’s why I’m so grateful for President Biden’s leadership on tackling the high costs of prescription drugs — particularly insulin.”

Watch the president’s full remarks here

Sa’Ra, from Indianapolis, visited the White House today, and the president shared her story in his speech as well. Both Sa’Ra and her younger sister were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a young age. In college, they began sharing and rationing their insulin in order to be able to afford it. After rationing a dose one day in 2018, Sa’Ra’s sister entered diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially deadly complication of the illness. 

President Biden said, ”[Sa’Ra] told me that affording insulin has been the challenge of her and her family’s entire life.” The experience motivates Sa’Ra to fight for affordable insulin for people with diabetes so they can stop living in fear of high prices.

Gail, a small business owner and patient advocate from Denver, met with President Biden over the summer to share her story of living with high drug prices and to discuss the president’s Build Back Better plan, which would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Gail lives with type 1 diabetes and takes insulin produced by ​​Novolog that is priced at over $280 per vial. 
Today, the White House released this new video of a follow-up conversation she had with Vice President Kamala Haris.  

“Having this included in the Build Back Better plan is absolutely a dream come true for so many, especially the $35 copay cap,” Gail told the vice president in the video. “Nobody should ever have to make the choice between feeding your kids or paying for your insulin. So having the Build Back Better plan really address it has just been a fabulous response to our needs.

All three patients are available to speak with the press upon request.