Leanna Tsinajinnie is pictured in May 2022. (Photo credit: Leanna Tsinajinnie)
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Native American communities due to limited health care services and broken infrastructure. For Navajo mother Leanna Tsinajinnie in Houck, Arizona, the expanded child tax credit (CTC) was critical to overcoming the infrastructure and health care obstacles her community faced during the pandemic.
Leanna’s family lives on the Navajo reservation, where internet connectivity is scarce. When her children’s school went online at the beginning of the pandemic, she had to purchase expensive satellite internet and a laptop for her two school-age children to share. The expanded CTC helped her shoulder the cost of her new, pricey internet bill and freed up money in her budget so Leanna could afford to take her insulin as prescribed. When Leanna’s budget is tight, she will skip insulin doses and meals to avoid having to purchase insulin.
Before the CTC came, I had to choose between buying necessities and my insulin. A couple times, I didn't purchase insulin so we could have food. The cost of insulin was also an issue for my dad. Now, he must go to kidney dialysis three times a week. I don't want to be like that, but I'm following his path because insulin is so expensive.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invested in broadband to bridge the digital divide in indigenous communities. But Congress has yet to take action to lower insulin prices. Proposals to cap monthly insulin copays at $35 per month are a necessary first step toward ensuring that no American is forced to ration their lifesaving medication.
Read more stories on economic justice and health care
This storybook features women in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose stories center on issues from prescription drug pricing and health insurance, to child care and paid leave.