*The following article won a first place prize in this year’s Newspapers In Education contest
By JUSTIN REESE – As a diabetic, medication has become a regular in my life. A regular that I have accepted and has become habitual for me. I couldn’t imagine a life without it. Unfortunately, with any medication comes a cost, which is sometimes unaffordable.
A Harvard study shows that millions of adults skip their medications simply because they can’t afford them. With common health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, it’s not uncommon for adults to take more than five prescriptions per day.
For some students, the idea of taking large amounts of medications is a reality. Freshman Andre Rubenstein, who suffers from Type One Diabetes, said, “Being a diabetic means going to daily check-ups, driving to your local medication store, and carrying around your diabetic equipment. Diabetic equipment alone can cost up to about $200 and damage is likely because of daily use, increasing the price even more.”
Other students have opinions on the matter as well. Freshman Hasan Ali commented, “The main job of the government is to protect its citizens. So why, does the government spend so much protecting us from non-existent military threats, and not enough on universal healthcare for all system? We have conceptualized plans; all we need is money and support. It’s time the government actually started doing it job and protecting us.”
Some students found this issue conflicting. Freshman Kaden Duffee said, “This is a tricky situation and I am at a loss. You can’t make products and medication free because then no money is being made, and you can’t force pharmacies to lower their prices because then the pharmacies will lose money.”
When millions of Americans are going without medications, something needs to be done. Not taking medications can lead to more serious health problems, like a heart attack, a stroke, or even more expensive hospitalizations.
This problem could all be fixed with a universal healthcare system.
Take France, for example. France has implemented free healthcare, and they spend less on healthcare than the US does. In the US, an MRI costs on average $1,080, while in France, only $280.
This could be done by dismantling the direct connection between the employer and the worker for healthcare. Instead, impose a tax on employers and workers, resulting in ultimately cheaper and theoretically free healthcare. This also rids the fear of when you lose a job, you also lose your healthcare and medications.
From this, I think it can be seen that the United States should learn from other countries, and provide a free universal healthcare system to better our health standards and increase our life expectancy. After all, healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
[Photo by Justin Reese]
Photo Caption: “Freshman Andre Rubenstein uses his diabetic equipment to monitor his blood sugar.”