3 years ago I almost slipped into a coma and died. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

I paid $684 for my first 30-day supply of insulin. Some pay $1000+ a month. Many die without it.

Today I introduced legislation to cap the price of insulin at $50 a month. #txlege
I haven’t shared this story publicly before.

In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way.

I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn’t concerned about a 25 mile walk...
But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued.

Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom.

This article quotes me telling the crowd “I am going to sit down because I am a little tired." bit.ly/39IzF4n
I figured I was severely dehydrated. So I changed shirts, drank some water, and continued the walk.

I threw up four more times over the last 12 miles, but somehow I finished.

When I watch this video of the walk, I don’t know how I did it. bit.ly/2Purxxy
After the walk, I went to bed thinking I needed a good night’s sleep. But I slept for 36 hours.

My parents rushed me to the hospital where nurses checked my blood sugar. A normal blood glucose level is below 100. Mine was 900.

I was immediately diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is an autoimmune disease.

While the cause is unknown, genetics are believed to play a role. All I know is my pancreas abruptly stopped working.

I was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a fatal condition that ends in coma and death without insulin.
After 5 days in the ICU, I fully recovered.

Now I have a glucose monitor on my arm & take shots of insulin every day. As long as I take care of myself, I’ll live a long life.

In 2019 I walked the 25 miles across my district again. This time with insulin! bit.ly/3dymV1m
After 5 days in the ICU, I fully recovered.

Now I have a glucose monitor on my arm & take shots of insulin every day. As long as I take care of myself, I’ll live a long life.

In 2019 I walked the 25 miles across my district again. This time with insulin! bit.ly/3dymV1m
Even with health insurance, I paid $684 for my first 30-day supply of insulin—the medicine I need to live. I had to put it on a credit card.

Now that I’m a legislator, I have excellent state health insurance to cover my insulin.

Every Texan should be entitled to the same.
In the last 20 years, the price of insulin has skyrocketed 1200% while manufacturing costs have remained relatively constant. It costs companies less than $10 per vial to produce insulin.

There are three primary reasons for this massive increase...
1. It’s a monopoly. 3 companies control the $27 billion global insulin market: Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk. They can fix their prices. This chart shows two of those companies increasing the prices for their two products (Humalog & Novolog) in *lockstep.*
2. There’s no generic. Insulin is a biological product not a chemical product, which makes it harder to produce a generic (called a “biosimilar”). The big three companies enter into “pay for delay” schemes where they pay potential biosimilar manufacturers not to enter the market.
3. There’s no competition. The big three companies surround their insulin patent with lots of other patents to make the original patent last longer (known as “evergreening”)

Then they spend millions in lobbying to prevent policymakers from closing any of these loopholes.
Putting profits over people has deadly consequences.

Texans with diabetes use GoFundMe pages or the black market to get insulin.

And in the richest country in the world, 1 in 4 diabetics risk their lives by rationing their insulin.
Like fellow Texan Allen Rivas.

The same week I was diagnosed, 20-year-old Allen was rationing his insulin because he couldn’t afford it.

On May 11, 2018, Allen’s mom came home and found him dead—two days before Mother’s Day. bit.ly/3mlY3Oc
My legislation—House Bill 40—would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $50/month and require the Attorney General to investigate rising insulin prices.

I’m also co-authoring HB 18 with @TomOliverson which would make insulin available at a discounted rate to uninsured Texans.
This is a bipartisan, bicameral effort.

House Bill 40 is joint-authored by @FourPriceTX, @EddieLucioIII, @Senfronia4Texas and signed by 103 members of the House—a supermajority.

The Senate bill, SB 827, is authored by @LoisKolkhorst and signed by 17 Senators.
If our legislation passes, Texas would become the 16th state to cap the price of insulin. It would also be the largest state to do so.
This is strong bipartisan legislation, but it’s only a step toward our eventual goal: guaranteed healthcare.

Insulin should be free, because insulin is a human right.
This is an idea that’s time has come. Insulin price caps have been endorsed by:

Politicians like @BernieSanders and Donald Trump.

Groups like @AmDiabetesAssn and @t1international.

Even celebrity diabetic (or “diabae”) @nickjonas
Call your Texas legislator and tell them to support HB 40 and SB 827.

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More from @jamestalarico

29 Mar
I’m sorry my prayer offended you, Rep. Stickland.

Love feels blasphemous when you’ve been taught a religion of hate.
Equality feels blasphemous when you’ve been taught a religion of supremacy.

Freedom feels blasphemous when you’ve been taught a religion of control.

Peace feels blasphemous when you’ve been taught a religion of violence.
The true blasphemy is using the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth to exclude others.

Christianity is a way of living in radical fellowship; it’s not a members-only club.

Christ taught love not rules.
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17 Mar
Texas Republicans hearing about a 15% COVID hospitalization rate.

Texas Republicans hearing about a 0.0001% voter fraud rate.
Republican leaders thought mandating masks and winterizing power plants were overreactions to rare occurrences, but now they’ll risk disenfranchising millions of Texans to address voter fraud that’s virtually nonexistent.
According to the House Chronicle, indicted Texas AG @KenPaxtonTX spent 22,000 hours looking for voter fraud and only found 16 cases of false addresses on registration forms.

Out of 17M registered voters in Texas.
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11 Mar
When I was a public school teacher, I struggled to make ends meet.

My coworkers drove Ubers at night and sold their blood plasma for extra money.

Today I filed a bill mandating a minimum salary of $70,000 for every teacher in Texas. #txlege
Our teachers have endured a global pandemic, an economic collapse, and a deadly winter storm.

They held our communities together through these historic crises.

Teachers had our backs. Now we must have theirs.
Last session, my colleagues and I passed House Bill 3, which gave almost every Texas teacher a long overdue raise. Unfortunately it was only a $3k bump on average.

This bill, HB 3580, can finish the job.
Read 9 tweets
22 Feb
“Limited government” sounds great until you’re shivering in the dark and flushing your toilet with snow. #txlege
This disaster is rooted in one big lie.

A lie first uttered by Ronald Reagan in 1981: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
Session after session, we see a pattern.

When the economy is good, the #txlege cuts taxes for wealthy people.

When the economy is bad, the #txlege cuts services for working people.

When the economy recovers, the #txlege doesn’t replace the lost revenue or the lost services.
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In the span of two months, @tedcruz put his own self-interest over the interests of his country, his state, his daughters, and his poodle. (1/6)
@tedcruz and I are both Christians. In our faith tradition, we follow a barefoot rabbi who taught us that being a leader means being a servant. It means putting others before yourself. It means prioritizing “the least of these.” (2/6)
@tedcruz forgot those teachings when he boarded that plane.

But selfishness isn’t just a flaw in Ted Cruz; it’s a flaw in our system. (3/6)
Read 6 tweets
17 Feb
Texas is experiencing a humanitarian crisis.

People are burning furniture to heat their homes, melting snow to flush their toilets, risking carbon monoxide poisoning to protect their children.

If Texas was a country, we would call it a “failed state.” #txlege
ERCOT must be held accountable. But that’s not where the blame lies.

Politicians will try to throw ERCOT under the bus to deflect attention from our state’s failed polices of deregulation and privatization.

Texans must ask their *elected leaders* these 4 questions:
1. Why is our grid not winterized?

Texas fossil fuel plants aren’t equipped to withstand winter storms, and no one requires them to be.

It’ll cost extra, but other states have done it (see map).

This disaster is costing money and lives. We didn’t pay then, so we’re paying now.
Read 9 tweets

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