Take a deep breath. Feel that? Insulin to a diabetic is as necessary as that air you pull into your lungs. I am the parent of a teenager who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two years ago. It gobsmacked us. We spilled out of the hospital bleary-eyed with a fast tracked “diabetes education,” two huge bags of medical paraphernalia and just one vial of insulin. One vial, we were told, would cost us anywhere from $300 – $600 a month depending on our insurance, but we needed two…and we were on our own to buy it out of pocket. We quickly learned that we would meet our high family deductible in just a few months each year, a mind-blowing cost we juggle along with the uncovered costs of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. Two years into this journey, we take deep breaths, try not to panic and do whatever it takes to make sure our child has insulin.

Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon, has taken the first incredible steps to advocate for diabetics at the Maine state level. She successfully sponsored and helped pass the Patients First Health Care Package granting access to more affordable health care for over 140,000 diabetics and concurrently passed legislation to cap insulin costs. On top of that, Sara has also passed legislation that prevents medical billing surprises from out-of-network providers.

If Sara is elected to Washington D.C., I am extremely confident in her leadership to tackle our challenges at the federal level. She is a passionate, intelligent advocate whose empathy knows no bounds. If we can all support Sara, there will be so much more she can accomplish, and I just may be able to complete that exhale I have been waiting to do for so long.

Erika Ely Hemphill,

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