When my 19-month-old son, Nelson, got sick recently, we took him to the doctor and then I went to a chain-store pharmacy to have a prescription filled. The pharmacist told me it was lucky I had insurance because what cost me $5 would cost an uninsured person $250.
More recently, I talked with one of my district’s few remaining independent pharmacists. He said the prescription’s actual wholesale cost is about $80, so he would have charged an uninsured person about $100.
This is a broken system.
And no, as a member of Congress I don’t have an all-expenses-paid “Cadillac” health care plan at taxpayers’ expense — that’s a myth. In fact, our kids and I are actually insured through my wife’s employment.
We’re lucky. Many Americans would shell out $250 for a basic flu prescription for their toddler — for too many, a choice between that prescription or paying for their groceries or rent. Few would know they could shop around for a lower — though still not cheap — price, or maybe they would know but wouldn’t have the time or transportation to get to a different pharmacy.
It’s 2019, and we are one of the only industrialized nations in which this remains an issue. The rest of the world already recognizes that a human being’s health isn’t a commodity.
This is a true national crisis — not the kind of theater that President Donald Trump desperately is trying to manufacture at our border with Mexico to justify his ego project, but a real crisis threatening each of our households and our economy at large.