Everyone’s heard about Epi-pens and insulin, how grossly overpriced they are when people need them simply to stay alive. This financial imbalance is plenty true for many mental illness medications as well.
As is already known, I take antipsychotics on a daily basis to treat the psychotic symptoms of my schizoaffective disorder. Some antipsychotics are relatively cheap – one example I’ve been on that I can think of is risperdal, also known as risperidone, which I believe was quite cheap. Perhaps only a couple hundred dollars, maybe less than one hundred (it’s been a long time since I’ve been on that one, so my memory is a little foggy). But the antipsychotics I take now, especially, are quite expensive.
I take two different doses of latuda during the day. One 80mg tablet and another 20mg tablet at once, once a day, for a total of 100mg. However, there are no 100mg tablets sold, so I must get both a month’s supply of 80mg as well as the 20mg. The total cost for this month?
$3,773 and change.
I am generally not an advocate for universal healthcare. I believe that free healthcare for all would lead to longer wait times and more difficulties seeing a doctor when you need to, even in an emergency. People will go in for a minor cold, just to be told to drink some water or something, instead of someone with an inexplicable rash that could be indicative of something more severe like lupus. There are health issues that warrant a trip to the emergency room, like life-or-death situations, major allergic reactions, sudden and severe symptoms that are not explained, or other things.
But healthcare and medications and treatments should not be this expensive.
If I didn’t qualify for Medicaid, I would literally have no way of affording the one antipsychotic that works for me unless I could manage to shell out almost $4,000 every month. As someone who can’t work, that is impossible for me. If I didn’t qualify for welfare programs, then I wouldn’t get my medication. Without my medication, it’s quite possible that I would kill myself or at the very least hurt myself in a severe psychotic episode. If I didn’t qualify for Medicaid.
The fact that I can’t work is the only reason I get that. Many people are still functional even though they need medications – diabetics, people who have had their thyroid removed due to cancer or other complications, schizophrenics, or otherwise mentally ill people. Those people who can still function end up having to provide hundreds or thousands of dollars, even after insurance, just to obtain their medication. If I was able to work, I would be in an even worse place financially than I am on Medicaid, because my medication costs way more than is reasonable.
Medications and treatment – therapy included, as that is also seriously overpriced – should not be expensive to the point where it’s more favorable for one to not even be able to work, because at least then they qualify for welfare programs.
I don’t think that flat-out universal healthcare is the answer – but the fact that there are people out there having to straight-up pay $4,000 every month just to keep from injuring themselves or worse is not something that should be okay to anyone. Prices should be lowered all-around, it should be way more accessible, and there shouldn’t be so much stigma involved with needing it.
I didn’t ask to have schizoaffective disorder. I didn’t ask to be sick. No one did.
$3,773 to survive another month. This is not okay.
It’s expensive to be sick.