September 2017, my husband received a courier package with termination papers. Goodbye job and goodbye benefits.
Our daughter is a type 1 diabetic so we now spend $600-$1000 a month on her diabetic supplies. My husband also takes many medications which run into hundreds of dollars every month. The total costs of medications for my husband and daughter would equal a mortgage payment.
The alternative is to not have our precious daughter alive and my husband healthy, and so we began paying out-of-pocket.
Private insurance is not an option. Both my daughter and husband have pre-existing conditions. While private insurance may be be happy to cover us, it won't for the very thing we need the coverage for. So what’s the point in that?
I am sick; my stomach is in knots, worried and tense beyond belief. I always said to my husband, “If you ever lose your job we are so screwed.”
Well here we are.
I try to console myself knowing that others are a lot worse off than my family. But that hardly takes the sting away. My attention should be on managing my daughter’s diabetes, not stressing because too many testing strips have been used today. For those that do not know, a test strip costs about $1 each, a dozen or more can be used on a daily basis.
Our family is not unique, millions of Canadians live in fear of losing their benefits or having their coverage altered in some form, causing financial hardship. Why is this acceptable? Why do we pay so much for medications compared to other countries. Our system is broken and yet nothing is being done to fix it.
I know we live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Canada is always there to help other countries when they are in need. I am very proud of that fact and proud to call myself Canadian. However, a national Pharmacare program has been tossed around since the 60’s yet nothing has been done. Now more than ever, struggling Canadians need that help.
So as I head to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions, I know the cost will run about $400 this time, a grocery order or a car payment. In two weeks I will be there again doing the same thing. And the financial burden gets heavier and heavier with each passing day. Yet as a parent I would rather go without air to ensure the health of my sweet angel and my husband.
I pay my taxes, I vote and I am a good citizen. I go out of my way to help others in need. It is now time that our country ensures everyone has the medication they need, no matter who you are or where you live. National Pharmacare is long overdue in Canada.