Who Bears The Burden

Posted at 2:55 PM on Apr 5, 2022



Author: Lauren Reynolds, National Student Advocacy Committee (NSAC). NSAC brings together student advocates across the country to build support for and further Prescription Justice’s legislative and policy agenda to end the crisis of high drug prices. The NSAC authors are proudly responsible for their own content. 

In 2020, healthcare spending in the United States increased by about 10% to $11,945 per person. The increase widened an already huge gap that too many of our legislators fail to include in their justifications of medical costs:  the discrepancy in healthcare costs in the U.S.versus other high income countries. The greatest burden is often on families where someone faces chronic medical needs  requiring expensive prescription drugs.


Here’s what one of our survey participants had to say about this issue. Roxanne, 21, is well aware of how high medical costs can affect a family. Her father suffers from diabetes, and the financial burden of his constant hospital visits compounded with his other medical needs has led Roxanne’s family to live with significant financial hardship for over two decades.


Based on her own family’s experience, she knows firsthand how strongly the prices of drugs and medical care can play into the general public’s ability to access it. As families across the nation struggle to meet these costs successfully, many end up in similar situations to Roxanne's family: sacrificing financial security in the name of health. This unfair choice between health and finance goes unaddressed by the government .


Roxanne believes “The price of medical necessities is a fundamental barrier to actualize one’s full agency and scope of basic human rights, let alone constitutional rights.”


The idea that private insurance has the ability to directly control her family’s financial security has led Roxanne to believe that “the discretion of coverage that insurers have is fundamentally unjust and has been used to unload hefty burdens onto patients, often well after and in addition to the initial quote for payment. These hidden fees or renegotiated coverages are particularly insidious.”


Whether it is Medicare Price Caps, Universal Health Care coverage or the legalization of safe importation of lower-cost medicines from abroad, Roxanne believes that the immediate effects of high prescription drug prices and medical care needs to be mitigated for the safety and prosperity of families like her own.


The financial burden placed on Roxanne and her family is faced by millions throughout the country.


She believes that doctors must play a role in preparing patients for potential out of pocket costs for any sort of medical care or medication. In the United States patients are bearing the burden as private insurance, medical lobbyists, big pharma and more cash out on the medical exploitation of their fellow citizens.


We encourage all Americans to take action and contact their representatives today.


JOIN OUR ADVOCACY: Your voice matters: find your elected officials here by inputting your Zip Code. Additionally, you can find an advocacy toolkit that members of our Prescription Justice National Student Advocacy Committee (NSAC) have put together here.       


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