Today, House DFLers and #insulin4all advocates reflect on the second anniversary of the passing of Alec Smith. Alec Smith passed away at the age of 26 on June 27, 2017, when he was forced to ration his insulin that he could no longer afford. Alec’s parents, Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt, have since been steadfast advocates in sharing Alec’s story and working towards a future of affordable insulin.
“I'm so grateful to Nicole and James for sharing Alec's story over the past two years to help other people,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “It's an incredible gift that they have shared Alec's life with the rest of us, with the hope that other families can avoid the heartache they have suffered. I'm so sorry that they've spent the past two years without their son.”
Alec’s story has sparked a dialogue in Minnesota and across the country, putting a spotlight on the skyrocketing cost of insulin, which has tripled in the last 10 years. Studies indicate that one in four diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to lack of access to this life-saving medication.
"Thanks to the tireless advocacy of families like Alec's, we're making progress in lowering health care costs and increasing accessibility," said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. "By sharing their stories, they've helped center health care policy on people, not profits."
In partnership with advocates and Alec’s family, the DFL House crafted the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. The bill would establish a means for Minnesotans who are unable to afford their needed insulin to get their prescription filled on a temporary basis. Pharmacies would be authorized to fill a temporary supply of insulin for patients whose prescription is out-of-date, and would in turn be reimbursed through a fee on Big Pharma insulin manufacturers.
“Today, I am reflecting on Alec’s life and the strength and determination of his loving family who courageously fight every day to address the immoral cost of insulin,” said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL – Richfield), author of the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. “May their courage continue to change hearts and minds, driving the changes we must make to ensure no Minnesotan loses their life because they can’t afford the insulin they need to survive.”