A 10-year-old with Type 1 diabetes is fighting to curb the rising cost of insulin

Jameson Wardle was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The chronic condition destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas, leaving those like Jameson dependent on insulin administered via shots or an insulin pump. "[Diabetes] is when your body attacks the beta cells... which produce insulin which is a hormone that changes carbohydrates into energy," the youngster, who is now 10 and a fifth grade student in Boerne, Texas, told Good Morning America. He says the rising cost of insulin has made life difficult for the 37.7 million Americans who suffer from diabetes.

"Carbohydrates are the little things inside of food that get turned into energy by insulin. Since I don't have insulin, I don't have that much energy. And if I don't have enough carbs to sustain that 180 to 80 range, I'm either going to go 'whoo!' or be very tired and dizzy," Jameson explained to KSAT-TV. In the past two decades, the price of insulin price has reportedly more than tripled. Jameson's mother and U.S. Air Force veteran Jennifer Wardle revealed that her son uses 100 units of fast-acting insulin every day. Each vial of insulin—which is only about the size of a golf tee and contains 1,000 units—costs a whopping $300 without insurance.

Although the Wardles have insurance under Jennifer's military benefits, she worries about how her son will manage once he has grown out of her coverage. "What happens when [Jameson] turns 26 and he's not on our insurance anymore?" she said. "And these are the things that we, as parents, have to help him plan for." Jameson is now on a mission to curb what he says are unaffordable insulin prices. The youngster met with his local members of Congress to urge them to stand up against the rising cost of insulin. The family is also calling on Congress to pass legislation that would cap the price of insulin. One such legislation is the Affordable Insulin Now Act, H.R.6833, which would encourage insulin manufacturers to reduce list prices and expand access to insulin. Although the bill passed the House in March, it has stalled in the Senate.

In another disappointing development, a proposal by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., to place a $35-per-month limit on insulin costs under private insurance failed to pass in the Senate this month by a 57-43 vote. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated to cost a total of $327 billion in medical costs and lost work and wages every year. Despite how slowly things are moving along, Jameson shared that he is determined to meet with more lawmakers. "I feel empowered," the youngster said. Sharing a message of encouragement to other kids out there who are fighting diabetes like him, he said: "Keep going and be strong because soon we'll have a cure. Contact your congressman."

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