With no government paycheck, Wis. woman rations her insulin

Ross and Mallory Bischoff at their wedding in September. Mallory Bischoff, via Facebook

A political party has been so effective at demonizing government that it’s asking a lot anymore to expect sympathy for the innocent victims of the collapse of a functioning government — government workers.

But that doesn’t mean Mallory Lorge Bischoff’s story isn’t an appropriate reminder that beneath most headlines, there is a human story to consider.

Bischoff, who lives in River Falls, Wis., is diabetic and she’s almost out of insulin. Last week she had two vials of insulin left, NBC News says. She didn’t use them even though she should have. She’s rationing her medicine because she’s an administrative assistant for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bloomington, hasn’t been paid, and can’t afford the $300 a month copay.

There, are, of course, several stories here: the effect of the shutdown, the soaring cost of insulin, and the fact that in today’s world, many people are one paycheck away from hard times.

The shutdown arrived last month about the same time as the newlywed’s first medical bills came in.

“I can’t afford to go to the ER. I can’t afford anything. I just went to bed and hoped I’d wake up,” she said.

“It’s like being held hostage,” Bischoff tells NBC. “I’ve been a federal employee for six years, and I love it. I don’t get paid much, but I love working for the American people. That the government has put us in this position is like a punch in the gut.”

Her husband, Ross, is working overtime to help ends meet. A loan payment is due this week. And there’s that insulin that’s running out.

“You got hopes and dreams and then stuff like this kind of puts it on the back burner now,” she said. “My husband and I were talking and saying, ‘Let’s just worry about each day. We can’t worry about our dreams now.’”

Related: Life, Death, and Insulin (Washington Post)