Sarah Stark, Holly Resident and Diabetic Community Advocate To Accompany Slotkin to State of the Union

January 28, 2020
Press Release
Cost of Stark’s Insulin Has Increased 15 Times Over in 20 Years

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) announced today that Sarah Stark, a fellow Holly resident and Type 1 diabetic, will be her guest to the State of the Union next Tuesday. Stark has been a Type 1 diabetic for 22 years, and in that time the cost of her insulin has risen from $17.75 a vile to now $276 – over 15 times the original cost. Under H.R. 3, a landmark prescription drug package that Slotkin helped pass the House at the end of last year, the cost of common insulin medications could decrease to as little as $34 per month, or $400 per year.

“Sarah is an incredible advocate for the diabetic community, and I’m thrilled she will be joining me at the State of the Union,” Slotkin said. “Sarah’s experience getting squeezed by insulin that costs 15 times more than it did when she was first diagnosed, and the very real effect that has had on her family, is exactly what our senior leaders in Washington need to hear loud and clear. The urgency of lowering the cost of prescription drugs isn’t a theoretical exercise for Sarah, or for the 800,000 diabetics across our state – and the leaders convening on Tuesday night have the power to finish the job, and sign into law legislation like H.R.3 that drives down costs.”

“I’m proud to be joining Rep. Slotkin at the State of the Union, and to continue shedding light on the rising price of insulin, and what it means for my community,” Stark said. “More and more, Type 1 diabetics and insulin-dependent users are forced to ration their insulin due to the exorbitant cost – and when we’re not losing our lives as a result, we’re losing our ability to afford housing, food on the table, and in the long-term, losing kidney function, eyesight, and lower-leg extremities. This is a life or death issue, not a partisan issue – I’ve helped both Democrats and Republicans in my community alike who were struggling to access the insulin they need. I’m proud Rep. Slotkin has made this issue a priority, and I hope that other leaders in Washington hear the message from my community and pass these measures into law, while continuing to break down barriers to care and work towards solutions inclusive of our uninsured population.”

With Slotkin’s support, the House passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) at the end of last year, a landmark prescription drug bill that would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to drive down prices, bringing down drug costs for all Americans; and ensure that Americans will never pay more for this group of negotiate drugs than the average of what these drugs costs in other countries. The bill would save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next ten years and reinvests that savings into expanding Medicare benefits, combatting the addiction crisis, and researching and developing new cures and treatments.

Lowering prescription drug prices has been a top priority of Slotkin’s since taking office. Slotkin founded constituent-led district advisory boards made up of seniors, patients, doctors, nurses, and healthcare experts to help inform legislation that best addresses 8th district residents’ concerns, and has undertaken a district-wide “Costs of Care” tour to understand how the costs of prescription drugs and healthcare are affecting 8th district residents. Slotkin’s Real-Time Benefits Act, which passed the House in October 2019 with unanimous, bipartisan support, has been incorporated into a bipartisan Senate drug pricing package. The Real Time Benefits Act would help lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs by giving patients and doctors real-time updates on the price of prescription drugs, before they leave the doctor’s office. By increasing price transparency, the bill also encourages competition to help bring drug costs down across the board.