During the past week, Senator Ted Cruz has been embroiled in controversy as he and his family fled freezing north Texas for a vacation in Cancun, while many of his constituents suffered under extreme weather and their state’s inability to cope with conditions. Natural gas pipes and wind turbines alike froze, leaving 10 million people without power, while temperatures in places like Dallas and Austin dropped below temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska.
One Texas gubernatorial candidate made the exact opposite journey, traveling from a beach house in Cancun to Austin for a campaign rally where he illegally sold insulin on the Texas Capitol grounds to make a point about healthcare. Upon his arrival, he encountered hotels without power, a disruption with the sound equipment rental companies who were to service the rally, and many who were set to attend the rally had to stay home due to road conditions.
Daniel “Taxation is Theft” Behrman held his “Rally to Free Healthcare” (as opposed to rally for free healthcare) in order to highlight what he describes as a big healthcare/big pharma monopoly inflating the cost of essential medicines through regulatory capture of government. Following the rally, the boogaloo bois brought needed food, water, and warmth to those affected by the winter storms crippling the state for days and killing over fifty people.
During the rally, he sold insulin for $12. Why $12? As he explained during the rally,
“Insulin costs about $3 to manufacture a month’s supply, and they sell it to us here in America for $100. Now, of course, if you live close enough to the border, you can actually walk right across the border over to Mexico, and you can buy the same insulin for $12. An 88% discount. Now, of course, if you don’t live by the border, you have to pay these really high prices. If you’re lucky enough to have insurance, well… your insurance isn’t just coughing up that money for free—that’s built into your premium. That’s one of the reasons premiums are so high.
A lot of people say ‘oh, but if Mexico has insulin for $12, it must be some cheap knock off stuff’. No. Actually, the stuff that they sell, the insulin they sell in Mexico is the exact same stuff that they sell in the United States. In fact, it was manufactured in the United States. It is FDA approved to be sold in the United States, but they export it to a place that cannot afford the $100 price tag that we have here.
So, I went down to Mexico. And in the United States, you need a permit from the government. And that permit has to be given to you by a doctor. They call it a prescription. It’s a government permit to get medication to save your own life. I went down to Mexico, I walked into a pharmacy… and I was a little bit scared because I was worried that what I was doing was illegal. I was going to try to buy some drugs and bring them back to the United States. Sounds scary, right? We’ve seen all these movies where people try to do that. The feds are after them, all this crazy stuff goes on, 100 years in prison.
So, I walked into a pharmacy. And man, I was like a teenager with a fake ID trying to buy alcohol. I went up to this pharmacist and I was trying to speak broken Spanish to him. My Spanish is already not that great, but I was trying to make it worse just to be like, ‘Okay, this gringo was given what he’s asking for’. And of course, that whole plan went south when I realized the pharmacist spoke perfect English. And he was just rolling his eyes at me. But it was funny because there was nothing odd about that to him.
Because in Mexico, there’s no requirement for government permission to get medication, or most medications to keep you alive. This is super important. Because in the United States, there are people dying because they don’t have access to lifesaving medication. Sometimes because they don’t have the right prescription. Sometimes because they don’t have the money to pay the extortion—the extremely high costs that our government imposes.
So this stuff, you can go to Mexico, you can get it for $12 and bring it across to the United States. Sounds great. I was only able to bring a little bit with me because if I brought a whole lot of it, that might give me some problems. So, some people reached out to me and they said, ‘so what’s your solution to this problem?’ I said, ‘Well, if you get rid of the government regulations, you might have have somebody in Mexico or another country who has access to this insulin for $12, who might open up an online pharmacy, and send it to the United States for $12 plus shipping.”
Right now, that’s illegal. It’s not for your safety—the government wants to tell you it’s for your safety. It’s not for your safety. It is to protect the extortion from Big Pharma, so they can charge you $100 for insulin that they’re already selling in other countries for $12.”
Is his sale of insulin to diabetics during a campaign rally on the Texas Capitol grounds illegal? He thinks that’s the wrong question to ask.
“Martin Luther King said, if a law is unjust, we not only have a right to ignore the law, we have a duty. This law is unjust. It’s telling us that even though we can buy lifesaving medication for what we can actually afford, it’s illegal. And so many Americans have so fallen for this brainwashing that they are afraid to save their own lives.”
But, even if he’s right, isn’t he running for a state level position? If the feds enumerate the rules of the road for healthcare, what could he even do as Governor about it?
“I’m running for governor of Texas, and we’re here at the Texas State Capitol. And a lot of this is federal law. So what can the state do if this is federal law? Ignore it. We can ignore it. We can nullify it. I mean, if we wanted to, we could build our own bridge across the Rio Grande and allow cars to drive right over… we could send helicopters and allow state protection against federal agents. We have the power to do that. A lot of people don’t like that idea. But do you like the idea that people are gonna die because they don’t have access to health care?”
Were those $12 sales making him money? Nope. That was the exact price he could buy it for in Mexico. And the extra?
“And whatever I have left? Actually, some of my friends here—what should I say—the boys with the guns? They’ve got food and water for the homeless. So we’re gonna head out and we’re going to distribute that after this. And when we do that, if we run into any diabetics who are homeless and in need, we will give them access for free. We’re not going to charge them for any leftovers that we have here.”
You can follow Daniel Behrman’s Texas gubernatorial campaign on Facebook and Twitter.