Herschel Walker and insulin

This is mostly for those of you who live in Georgia. I don’t intend to be political for politics’ sake, but this is an issue that touches all of us T1s, so I think it’s appropriate to note what a current Senate candidate is saying regarding our disease.

During the recent debate, the issue of the high cost of living came up. Sen. Raphael Warnock noted that he had helped pass legislation lowering prescription drug prices, including a $35 cap on monthly insulin costs. He noted that his opponent Herschel Walker had opposed the law.

Walker responded, “I believe in reducing insulin [presumably meaning the cost of the drug], but at the same time you gotta eat right. I know many people that’s on insulin. Unless you’re eating right, insulin is doing you no good. So you have to get food prices down and you gotta get gas down so you can go get insulin.”

Walker’s comments are revealing to me about how much he understands about diabetes and insulin, but I won’t comment; for one thing, I don’t live in Georgia, so can’t vote for or against him. But I know how I would vote!

Here’s a Huffpost article going into more detail (there are others, of course):

–Keith

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He just doesn’t understand what insulin is or what it does.

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I seriously doubt he understands why the sun moves across the sky.

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The only thing more disturbing then the video is the fact he was able to reproduce.

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Diet, the types and amounts of food I eat are a critical component to the management of my diabetes. When I look at the increase in the cost of the foods I eat including avocados, blueberries, pears, etc. on average they have increased 25%-30% in my local markets since inflation started running rampant. Additionally, I live 8 miles from the nearest market and the increase in my fuel bill just to acquire my basic foods has gone up substantially in the past 20 or so months. I spend a lot more on food and gas to acquire food than I do on Insulin. Fortunately, neither the price of Insulin, food nor fuel affect me financially to the point I need to worry, but for those that are not in my financial position, I can see this as a real issue.

In a debate format, where you only have very limited time to try to get a point across, drawing a nexus between the cost of Insulin, fuel, and food is not unreasonable. A more polished debater could perhaps have done a much better job of delivering that rebuttal message, but I do believe the message carries validity.

I don’t live in GA and do not, therefore, support either candidate.

I am not saying this to endorse either politician. I am saying this in the interest of people having a fair understanding of his comment.

I listened to several youtube clips of this comment, and I was suspicious as to why it always ended right after he said those words. They did not allow the video to continue on into the next few sentences.

Certainly you can take a couple of sentences from any politician and make them sound stupid if the entire context is not included.

I finally found the full debate. What he continued with after this little snippet is to talk about how food and gas prices are continuing to rise. So his comment “Unless you’re eating right, insulin is doing you no good” is actually talking about how people are having a hard time affording food. It is a discussion about inflation. It is a change of subject.

Anyway, not really a great discussion either way. He was not really giving a good answer about the price of insulin, but simply trying to change the subject into a different issue, that of inflation and food prices. Politicians do that all the time, changing the subject in a debate.

But I wanted people here to be aware that this little soundbite was somewhat misleading if you don’t hear the next part of it.




BTW, as far as politics, I promise you this - I am totally unbiased. I hate everyone.

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Me too - Love the comment

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You have to see his comment in full context. He did agree that insulin price has to come down. Face it, the inflation act has almost nothing in it that is going to help bring down actual inflation. He was talking about that most Americans need something to help bring down basic costs of food and gas. For almost everyone, that’s the critical need.

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Actually he stated that he didn’t, until he was caught in a lie

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That would be a first step, yet the sun does not move across the sky. First steps are good, may one of them bless him. Until then we can but vote.

Not really. We can do without gas and we can do without most of the food we eat, yet we cannot do without health care. Some of us, maybe, can survive a while, until we stub our toe and gangrene sets in.

The cost of insulin is, of course, a massive distraction. The costs for anyone who requires health care are broadly the same; what the insurance will pay and, if you have no insurance, everything you have until you declare bankruptcy. The ACA didn’t change that, it just reduced (massively) the number of people who go bankrupt.

The single greatest impediment to American Capitalism remains healthcare and until that is fixed, by providing healthcare just like we provide roads and, at present, schools and even car insurance (go figure) we have a big problem. Nothing to do with insulin, or eating.

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Just to give the numbers, since some Murdochians might think I am BSing:

Bankruptcy Filings Drop 24 Percent | United States Courts.

“Medical” is non-business and is Chapter 7. The ACA came into force in 2014 (it was passed in 2010) and enrollment in health care resulted had halved the number of people not enrolled by 2016. The figures above start in 2017; alas no one in the US cared to study the disaster until a solution was available. Ostriches have more sense than Americans.

statistica has this web page. NOTE: DO NOT CLICK “Allow All” on the cookie consent page; go to the consent settings and click on the BOTTOM LEFT, not ALLOW ALL on the bottom right:

Plot politics on that graph. Remember that:

Medical Bankruptcy Statistics.

Medical bills are reported to be the number-one cause of U.S. bankruptcies. One study has claimed that 62.1% of bankruptcies were caused by medical issues.1 Another claims that over two million people are adversely affected by their medical expenses.

Medical debt is worse. Most Americans (some obvious exceptions) don’t like to be in debt.

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@John_Bowler
I definitely do not agree
Sure for us type 1’s we have to have insulin to survive. Some type 2’s need it too.

But everyone has to be able to eat food, whether you say some can change what they buy and Americans are. (Snacks, Desserts and prepackaged meals are the biggest category of being bought less). You have to have food, and when prices go up, you still have to buy food. Gas increases also affect the prices of any food we buy. And people need gas for their cars to get to work or to go to the grocery store. While some might be able to take a bus, dangerous nowadays in many areas, buses aren’t available in a lot of areas.

So while some of us need insulin, all of us need food. Debt can be dealt with in other ways and while nasty, not immediate. Food is immediate and an ongoing expense for everyone. Food and Gas price increases are felt by almost everyone.

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Years of cheap gas led to a lot of giant vehicles.
There are a lot of complicated issues here, but keeping gas cheap can’t be the answer to poverty. Keeping medicines cheap is a different issue because people don’t have a choice about taking medicine. They do have some control over how much gas they use and free market forces play a useful role in gas prices. Comparing gas and insulin is apples/oranges.

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So he is saying if you’re not eating right insulin is doing you no good. So if not eating right and insulin is not doing any good, can stop taking insulin. Which then leads to death for T1Ds like me.

On the other hand, he could be referring to rationing insulin.

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I think the very basic, fundamental response here is that how a person with type 1 diabetes (me for example) is eating is actually irrelevant to whether or not insulin is doing them good, as he would phrase it. The presence of insulin in my body is a necessity.

That’s not a complicated statement. It’s entirely a fact. If I lived in Georgia and had type 1 diabetes, I’d be really disturbed by how insulin affordability was minimized here. Many people with Type 2 also require insulin, but even if they didn’t… that doesn’t mean insulin affordability isn’t worthy of addressing.

I would hope that a politician could at least attempt to address both health care affordability and food affordability. It is a low expectation for a politician to address more than one issue if he/she takes office. Low bar here.

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We constantly run into this. Everyone is familiar with type 2, not type 1’s. There is less than 2 million of us. But 40 million plus type 2’s and probably the same in prediabetics. How often are we constantly complaining of people not knowing the difference? As Type 1’s we have to have insulin, but there are more type 2’s on insulin than all of us type 1’s.

But he said insulin needs to be cheaper, then he went on to say people need to be able to get to the grocery store to buy food and afford the gas to do so. He did not say insulin shouldn’t be cheaper or you shouldn’t have it.

This was in response to Warnick saying that Herschel Walker would not have voted for the Inflation Act’ Which has now been said on both sides was not an Inflation Act. It just had a couple of things in it, It was mostly filled with funding projects. One of the items in it was Insulin cost. Trump had already passed the $35 cap for Medicare. And 20 states had caps on state regulated health plans. A bill had already been passed by the house to do so for anyone that had insurance and that’s been sitting at the senate since earlier in spring.

The next 2 paragraphs are from Forbes

"Walker’s statement came after Warnock had said the following: “I think [Walker] should tell the people of Georgia why he thinks they should have expensive insulin and why the pharmaceutical companies should be able to charge us whatever they like.” Walker then replied with “I believe in reducing insulin, but at the same time you got to eat right.”

Presumably, Walker meant that he believes in reducing insulin costs, because reducing insulin in people’s bodies could lead to many more cases of diabetes and more deaths. Walker continued with, “Because he may not know and I know many people that’s on insulin, and unless you have eating right, insulin is doing you no good.” Walker went on to say, “ You have to get food prices down and you got to get gas down so that they can go get insulin.” You can see the whole exchange in the video accompanying this tweet from The Recount: "

The Debate - The insulin comments are at the beginning

The Forbes article

You can make up your mind about Walker. Frankly I’m not in Georgia and I haven’t cared in finding out too much about him or his opponent. I hate when the press cuts off a comment to infer a different meaning and then people start to go with it. There is just no reason to assume he doesn’t want to lower the cost, that he wants to limit insulin, that he wants to curtail insulin access in any way.

And no, I didn’t watch the whole debate. I have no idea what else was said. I just watched the beginning to find out what he completely actually said about insulin.

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I watched this longer video section of the debate prior to my comment yesterday.

He was asked about insulin, and he changed the subject. It’s really not that complicated. If he’d done it without minimizing the need for insulin, it probably wouldn’t have been newsworthy. Politicians do it all the time.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s executive order did not implement a $35 cap on insulin. It was essentially an unimplementable executive order.

“ FQHCs are community clinics that receive government funding to help vulnerable populations. They’re eligible for government-negotiated discounts on certain drugs, including insulin.

Trump’s order would have prevented FQHCs from charging patients within certain income brackets – those making less than 350% of the federal poverty line – more for insulin than the discounted price paid by the clinic, plus a small administrative fee.

But only about 1 in 11 Americans use FQHCs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Primary Care, the agency that oversees them. In turn, only a fraction of those patients use insulin, and only a portion of those fall below the income threshold to qualify for the proposed discount. So Trump’s order would not have made insulin cheaper for most Americans.

There was also pushback from the clinics who would have been implicated under this rule. The National Association of Community Health Centers called the order well-intentioned, but said it wasn’t the right solution because the red tape that would have been created by tracking which patients are eligible for the discount would be so expensive and time-consuming that it would make it harder for the clinics to do their jobs.

The Biden administration cited those concerns that the challenges to health centers would negate cost benefits to their patients as its reason for preventing the order from taking effect.”

I agree that the inflation reduction act doesn’t do much to reduce inflation, but let’s give the bill credit for what it does do - lower the price of insulin for seniors.

Edit: as for the bill that passed in the house, republicans strongly opposed it with 193 republican house members voting against it. This bill never would’ve gotten the 10 republican votes (note Herschel Walker is a republican) needed in the senate. Interestingly, Raphael Warnock was the one to introduce this bill in the senate.

The inflation reduction act passed through a different mechanism, requiring only 50 votes plus the vp, which unfortunately prevented the $35 insulin copay cap being being extended outside of Medicare.

I would suggest checking your sources before posting.

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The Bill was for Medicare Part D, and capped the co-pay, which is 25%, for a month’s supply of insulin. I could not find the grimy details. Human insulin is available for $25 for a 10cc vial, so, if the bill only applies to human insulin, it is meaningless.
Analog insulin can cost $300 or more for a 10 ml vial, and Type I need both basal and fast acting, but it is not clear if the bill applied to all insulins prescribed by a physician, or only human insulin.
In any case, the bill did not pass.

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It’s unpleasant to dig through the actual text of the bill, and it can be easy to misunderstand how a bill would actually work in practice, but the text is here:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/3700/text?r=1&s=1&format=txt

I did find this definition for selected insulin products which, if I’m reading right, is the relevant definition:

” Selected insulin products.–The term `selected
insulin products’ means at least one of each dosage form (such
as vial, pump, or inhaler dosage forms) of each different type
(such as rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, long-
acting, ultra long-acting, and premixed) of insulin (as defined
below), when available, as selected by the group health plan or
health insurance issuer.”

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