Susan’s story appeared in the final report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare, A Prescription for Canada: Achieving Pharmacare for All

I have chronic illnesses I deal with daily.

A recent job loss coupled with my health status means I’m now on federal disability with a—very—limited income. My husband makes too much money (barely) to qualify for provincial support. No matter which way you cut it, even with two “incomes,” we are in a predicament. The price of everything goes up, support stays the same.

Access to provincial services is a Gordian knot of bureaucracy and interlocked agencies. Provincial pharmacare is a real mess. It takes so much energy to deal with and I must accumulate $1,300 in drug payments BEFORE I get support.

Money I simply don’t have, so I have no choice but to cut medication.

This means my heart and thyroid are at risk. I stopped my arthritis meds and no longer have access to cannabis oil for pain. The result is I can barely move, I’ve gained weight, and have worsening circulation.

I wait inordinate amounts of time at the pharmacy and the doctor’s office, in pain, filled with anxiety, and trying to figure out what I can afford each month and which condition requires the most attention.

I’ve worked hard my whole life, but this is no retirement. I know others have it worse. But it’s no way to live.