By Marsha Augustin
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) – New York Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer visited the Southern Tier on Tuesday afternoon to announce a new bipartisan plan for affordable insulin.
Senator Schumer says he came to Lecom bearing good news. Alongside medical experts, students, and insulin-dependent patients he said we must cap the costs of insulin to save lives.
Gas and groceries are not the only items going up. Something that has been rising every year for the past ten years, is insulin. Schumer has introduced a new bill that will cap insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month. He says it will make this life-saving drug affordable for millions living with diabetes.
“It’s a crisis because it’s so many people who desperately need insulin can’t get it anymore. It use to cost $35 $40 $50 a month, it’s up to $600 a month,” Schumer said.
More than 1.7 million New Yorkers including 60,000 in the Southern Tier are living with diabetes. One out of four people living with diabetes can’t afford insulin. Schumer said no Southern Tier family should ever be forced to choose between insulin or paying rent or putting food on the table.
John and Mary DeHaas a couple both living with Diabetes said they can relate to that. If this bill passes they explain what it will mean for them.
“Freedom, food on the table, gas in the car. Right now with the price of gas, it’s either medicines or gas to get him to all of his appointments and tests that he has to go through. In order for me to make ends meet I collect bottles and cans. It pays the bills that’s all you can do,” The De Haas’ said.
Theresa Fusare and Nick Fusare both have type two diabetes. With the cost of insulin going up nearly 17% every year, their strategy to pay for the drug is…Rob Peter to Pay Paul.
“It is a struggle, it’s very expensive he’s on the pump, I’m not. I don’t take insulin my choice right now because I’d rather have him taken care of. I take the pills. Once we get him all settled and stuff then I’ll start thinking about it, Theresa Fusare said.
“I wish she wouldn’t do that though, she’s just as important to me as I am to her,” Nick Fusare said.