The newly elected Congresswoman from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently told the media that her father was one of the millions of Americans affected by cancer. The revelation came during a hearing Friday about the ever-increasing price of prescription drugs.
Ocasio-Cortez, often referred to as AOC, said that her father was diagnosed with an exceptionally rare form of lung cancer when she was just a junior in high school. The prognosis for him was very bad, and the only choice the Ocasio-Cortez family had was to try experimental therapies with no guarantee of success. AOC stressed how bad the financial burden was during this time; she told the House Oversight Committee that her family nearly lost their home.
Her story’s ending was grim: her father eventually lost his battle with lung cancer and passed away. The representative from New York said after her father’s death, she had to work long and strenuous hours as a bartender to make ends meet for her family.
AOC is currently thirty years old. Her father, Sergio, was a New York native, while her mother came from Puerto Rico in search of more economic opportunities in the continental United States. Sergio was an architect and CEO of his own small business, a business which AOC says her whole family worked at and helped with. She was born in a residential part of the Bronx but moved to Yorktown Heights at a young age as her father’s business began to flourish.
Prescription Drug Prices
The conversation on prescription drug prices began when Sara Skipper, an Indianapolis woman, came forward as a witness to discuss the outrageous prices of insulin for diabetics. The insulin, which was for Skipper and her diabetic sister, was costing her thousands of dollars every month even with health insurance. When Skipper’s mother lost her job and consequently lost her health insurance, the payments became unmanageable for the family.
Skipper went on to say that the struggle caused her to be depressed and have suicidal thoughts. The pain caused to her and her sister was difficult, and they weren’t sure if they could survive.
In the News
AOC is part of the House Oversight Committee that listened to the testimony. The Committee, chaired by Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland’s seventh district, has been looking into the prices of various prescription drugs since early this year. Cummings has been in the news lately for his battles with President Trump. Cummings’ district includes half of Baltimore, which Trump recently called a “rodent infested mess.”