Ill Americans Go Without Food to Afford Medicine

Man and woman cannot afford to buy medicine

It sounds like the stuff of a Dickens’ novel, but some people will go without food to pay for prescription medication, a situation that should not, but sadly does happen in modern America.

One in three Americans now lives with a chronic health problem like asthma, diabetes or arthritis. Some people have more than one condition to contend with. Living with a chronic disease can be painful and expensive.

Insurance Not Affordable For Poor

Despite moves towards more affordable care and the requirement for government ‘marketplace’ health insurance policies to include the costs of prescription medication in their plans, 28.5 million people were still uninsured by 2015. Some states did not expand Medicaid in line with the changes, leaving the poorest people without the means to afford their medical bills. For others, the cost of ‘Obamacare’ is prohibitive. This has led to millions opting to remain uninsured.

11% Can’t Eat and Buy Medicine

23% of people have taken their medication less than the amount specified by their doctor because they cannot afford to keep refilling prescriptions, in a situation that could be dangerous when one considers conditions like diabetes and heart disease. For 11%, finances are so limited that the choice boils down to the patient eating or getting medicine. Some choose to ration their food to afford their prescriptions when those with chronic disease are most in need of nutritious, healthy food.

While it is common to skip doses of medicine or try to find a cheaper brand, the scenario of having to choose between food and drug treatment is shockingly new and one that needs to be addressed as an urgent welfare rights issue.

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Access to food and medical care are basic human rights, and there are prescription assistance programs for the uninsured out there that can help.

To find out about prescription assistance programs for uninsured people, ask your doctor for advice.