INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana father has pushed state lawmakers for change after his son died while rationing his expensive insulin prescription.
"I've been a Type 1 diabetic for over 10 years," Harry Rybolt said. "Last year toward the end of the year, August 25, I had a 39-year-old son. Key word being 'had' because he died because he could not afford his insulin."
Rybolt is not a politician or a lobbyist, but his presence is noted at the Statehouse as he pushes to change the health care system.
"So, now, honestly I'm a pissed off dad who wants things to change. I can't bring him back but I want to try and save other people," Rybolt said.
Rybolt said Jeremy was paying $167 for a single bottle of insulin more than once a month. Late last year, Jeremy started a new job but was still rationing his insulin.
"He was waiting for insurance to kick in on his new job and he didn't survive," Rybolt said.
Rybolt is now looking to lawmakers to cap the price pharmaceutical companies can charge for the lifesaving substance. This year, there is a chance that could happen at the Statehouse.
Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, introduced a bill that would cap the price for a 30-day supply of insulin at no more than $50 a month. The bill would also make epinepherine injections free for people under 18 years old. But the deadline for bills to get a hearing has passed, so it is dead.
Across the hall, House Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, proposed an amendment that would place a $100 cap on a 30-day supply of insulin. Shackleford said the price to stay alive is literally too high.
"It's gotten very out of hand," Shackleford said. "If you still have to pay $300 or $400 after your insurance, that's a steep hill and that's a lot for a lot of people."
But Shackleford's amendment wasn't heard on the House floor. Any similar changes to law related to insulin appear unlikely in 2020 with a short legislative session.
Rybolt said simple common sense and human decency will save lives and would have saved his son's.
"I know companies have to make a profit, but if you marked it up four times, that's 28 bucks for a bottle," he said. "Chances are I could afford that to get through, or he could've afforded it to get through."