Center for American Progress Action

Georgia Parents Struggle To Afford Their Children’s Lifesaving Medication
Elise Oberdorfer-Douglas is pictured with her son, John, and daughter, Luiza, in May 2020.

Elise Oberdorfer-Douglas, left, is pictured with her son, John, and daughter, Luiza, in May 2020. (Photo credit: Elise Oberdorfer-Douglas)

Rising insulin costs force 1 in 4 Americans with diabetes to ration their insulin. For parents such as Elise Oberdorfer-Douglas in Atlanta, high prices push her to seek insulin donations from the online diabetes community to ensure her daughter never goes without.

When Elise immigrated to the United States from Brazil to learn English, she believed life would be far better than it was in Brazil. She worked hard to build a life and ultimately started her family in Georgia. But when her daughter, Luiza, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Elise learned just how broken the American health care system is. Suddenly, she was faced with a monthly bill of more than $1,000 for insulin and diabetic supplies. There were many close calls when Luiza only had one vial of insulin. When Elise is in a pinch, she relies on online diabetic communities to receive insulin donations from strangers to make sure her child never goes without. Elise works hard to provide for her family; she did not imagine life in America would be so precarious.

We had one vial left, and I was horrified. Once we run out, Luiza can go into diabetic ketoacidosis in a day. Thank God I had someone who could donate insulin. The pandemic was the scariest time for me because it was so uncertain. Elise Oberdorfger-DOuglas

Americans turn toward their networks and communities as a last resort before rationing insulin and supplies. Congress must act to cap insulin copays at $35 per month to prevent more Americans from turning to desperate measures to access 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.

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