Charlie Crist will bring young diabetes advocate to 2020 State of the Union
Image via AP.

Charlie_Crist_ap_file_photo_0
Taylor McKenny is an 18-year old diabetes patient.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is taking a young activist with diabetes to the State of the Union Address in Washington D.C. Tuesday.

Washington lawmakers are allowed to choose a guest to attend the annual briefing that serves as the only event of the year that brings every member of the U.S. House and Senate under one roof along with the President, Vice President and members of the cabinet (with the exception of one designated survivor who watches the speech from an undisclosed location).

Crist chose 18-year-old Taylor McKenny, an activist for affordable access to insulin and other diabetic medical necessities. McKenny suffers from Type 1 Diabetes.

McKenny will join Crist in St. Pete Monday along with a group of friends she calls her “diabesties” to discuss skyrocketing insulin costs and ways lawmakers can hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for lower drug prices.

Crist is supporting the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would lower prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D patients by requiring cost negotiation and out-of-pocket expense caps.

But that legislation wouldn’t help people like McKenny who don’t qualify for Medicare. McKenny told WUSF in December that as an uninsured individual she pays about $3,200 a month for her diabetic supplies like insulin, test strips and needles.

“Now it’s come down to, ‘Do I want to pay for my college class? Or do I need to pay for my test strips or insulin?’” McKenny told WUSF. “It’s kind of like PTSD. You’re scared, you know. What’s going to happen?”

And there are other worries. When people can’t afford the high cost of treatment, they often resort to rationing medicine, which can be deadly.

Speaking at a press event covering the issue in December, McKenny referenced reports of college students dying because of rationing.

“They had to decide: Do I pay for my classes? Do I pay to eat? Or do I pay to live? Nobody should ever have to decide whether to pay for food or pay for your own life,” she said at the event, according to Bay News 9.

McKinney will speak Monday at Crist’s downtown St. Pete office located at 696 1st Ave. North, Suite 203 at 11:30 a.m. before leaving for Washington D.C. for the President’s address.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


One comment

  • gary

    January 31, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Translation… yet another demoRAT will pander to a small group of Americans for the chance to water the seeds of single issue voters!

    This is exactly what demoRATS do to expand their dwindling voter base!

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