Their son died while trying to ration insulin - now they want lawmakers to make it more affordable

"Enough is enough. We lost our 26 year old son way too early."

Susie Jones
January 22, 2019 - 4:03 pm
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Help didn't come in time for Alec Smith.  

He had a job, his mom Nicole says he had just gotten a promotion and was doing well.

"On May 20, 2017, he turned 26 and on June 1, he no longer had insurance. On June 27, he was found dead," said Nicole Holt Smith.

They didn't know he was rationing his insulin.

 "His girlfriend knew that he was sick but we didn't know it was because he wasn't taking his insulin," said his father, James Holt junior.

Alec never reached out for help. "A lot of times when they start slipping into a diabetic crisis and their blood sugars are getting high it affects their thought process, so he probably didn't even realize that he needed help."

The couple stood with lawmakers today to support legislation that would help others who are not able to pay for their insulin.

One bill is named after Alec. It's called the Alec Smith Emergency Act.  It would establish a way for Minnesotans who are not able to afford insulin to get a temporary prescription from the pharmacy. The bill would provide reimbursement from the manufacturer to pay back the pharmacy.

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A second bill would ensure price transparency between insulin manufacturers, pharmacies and customers.

And a third bill works on that same goal of transparency by requiring insurance companies to disclose the brand of insulin and the type of equipment provided under their plan.

Finally, a fourth bill creates a long-term plan for keeping insulin prices low for customers.  It allows the Minnesota Commissioner of Health to hold insulin companies accountable for their prices by imposing reimbursement charges.

There is bipartisan support for the measures.

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