Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga) visited Southside Medical Center Monday, May 22. Warnock. The junior senator and senior pastor at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church spoke with Southside Medical Center CEO & president David Williams, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and healthcare advocates about his work to cut cost of insulin for seniors.

Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (center) visited Southside Medical Center Monday, May 22, 2023. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Following a tour of the facility, Warnock sat down to address recent action he has taken in Washington to cut the cost of insulin for all Americans, not just seniors.

“Insulin should not be expensive for anybody,” he said. “We have seen insulin costs skyrocket because pharmaceutical companies have taken us to the cleaners just because they can.”

Warnock and Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Affordable Insulin Now Act in March. The bipartisan supported bill would cap the price of insulin for all patients at $35 for a 30-day supply.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and according to the CDC 1 in 5 have it and don’t know.

D’Juana Dudley (seated) is an executive assistant at Southside Medical Center and suffers from diabetes . Dudley, who was diagnosed at the age of 34, spoke of diabetes running in her family, and having lost a grandfather and grandmother to the disease. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

One of the advocates on the panel alongside Warnock, Williams and Brooks-LaSure was D’Juana Dudley, an executive assistant at Southside Medical and more particularly to that days events, an insulin user and diabetic.

Dudley was 34 when she was diagnosed with diabetes. She now takes multiple insulins to combat the disease and disclosed that diabetes runs in her family. “My experience with diabetes is from my family history. I have a grandmother and grandfather who both died from diabetes,” she said.

The reduction in the cost of insulin has helped her stay on track with her doctor’s orders and with the necessary amount of insulin she needs. Despite being employed and insured, Dudley credited Southside Medical Center for helping save her life.

“I take a diabetic infusion and we have a diabetic infusion clinic here,” she said. “That gives you energy, makes you feel great about yourself and they tell you how to manage your eating habits.”

Dudley (left) and Warnock shake hands after the panel. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Dudley said people at her church always ask her diabetes-related questions because of her work and familiarity with the disease. The lowered cost of insulins for seniors has helped Georgians like the people Dudley attends church with.

“The act of making it affordable can save hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Williams. “This is not just a political act, it’s a human act.”

About his work on lowering costs of insulin Warnock said, “I do it because I believe healthcare is a human right.”

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...