After a glowing post about the wonderful care that we received during my daughter’s recent seizure, I have discovered the harsh truth of the state of American medicine. I went to fill my daughter’s new prescription today. The doctor had prescribed a suppository form of Valium to stop a seizure quickly should she have another one. The prescription was for ten doses. The cost for a single does was over $300!
I absolutely must have one dose for the flight home and we are lucky that so far at least our travel insurance has been fabulous. They are working with the airline to change the dates of our return flight and they have indicated that they will assist with the outrageous cost of this prescription.
But I was struck by the simple truth, what does the excellent care in the emergency room matter if you leave with a vital prescription that costs as much as a car payment or a month’s grocery. If we filled that complete prescriptions it would cost $3,500: as much as a used car, a week vacation or the monthly mortgage on a very nice 3-bedroom home. What does a family do when it must choose between paying the monthly mortgage or saving their child’s life? Do you risk losing the family home for your other children or care of the needs of one?
The ludicrous thing is that the one program that addressed the gap for the average family was vetoed by President Bush. Thankfully that horrid injustice was the first law that President Obama signed into law. But that vital program had already begun to tighten its income guidelines meaning that fewer working families now qualify. It may never fully recover.
What would the same medicine cost me at home in the UK? Less than seven pounds…for as many as the doctor ordered. Actually, it would be free because my daughter is under eighteen. No family ever must face those difficult choices of home, utilities, food or medicine for a sick child. Ever…and that is how it should be.
How is it possible that this choice that you think of in terms of some third world country must be faced by parents in the world’s super power? Something is terribly broken with the system and quick band-aids such as those proposed by the current administration does not go far enough to ensure that all children have access to the quality care and medicines that they need to reach their potential.
As I said thanks to the excellent travel insurance that we have through our bank, our daughter will get the medicine that she needs and we will be able to change our flights without breaking our bank account. But what if we actually lived here? As I have said before…will we be able to even get coverage with this now pre-existing condition? Will this single Frugal Fam value of healthier living prevent us from moving back at all?