Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed that her late father died from lung cancer during a hearing about prescription drug prices.

Addressing the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill, the New York congresswoman said: “When I was 16 years old my father was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer.”

She went on to say: “He was in experimental trials in order to save his life. My family almost lost our home…in order to try to keep him live and just try to keep our family together.”

The congresswoman, 29, said that she worked as a bartender in a restaurant in order to help pay for her father Sergio Ocasio-Roman, who died from a rare form of the disease.

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Ocasio-Cortez's father was an architect and died in September 2008.

“Many people know that I was working in a restaurant when I got elected [last year], but they don’t know why,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the hearing.

And the reason why was because we lost my father to a rare form of lung cancer. We couldn’t find treatment for him.

The congresswoman went on to talk about the price of insulin with a witness called Sa’ra Skipper, from Indianapolis who testified before the committee on Friday.

“When insulin was first developed, the patent was sold for $1 (82 pence). Do you know the reason why it’s $1,000 (£817) with insurance for you?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “Neither do I. Frankly, I don’t think corporations will give us a reason why.”

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Skipper told the panel that even though she had health insurance, her insulin cost her $1,000 per month (£817).

She said that she and her sister both have Type 1 Diabetes.

After her mother lost her job, she said, things began to “spiral” as she also lost her health coverage, she said in comment reported by WJZ-TV.

“I was really scared,” Skipper told the committee.

A few months ago after she lost her job, I was suicidal because I didn’t want to continue to struggle.

I didn’t know how my sister and I were going to make it.

Ocasio-Cortez has made no secret of her upbringing. She told The Intercept last year that after the death of her father, her family struggled to keep the house and had “bankers going up to the curb of our home and taking photos of our house.”

In fact, her mother Blanca, became a school bus driver in order to keep their home from foreclosure, she told TIME in March.

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