Your Money or Your Life

Since moving to the United States, I’ve always found the lack of core healthcare for all a particularly shocking feature of life. Statistics just don’t seem to bring it home but a story like this does: “The human cost of insulin in America”.

Over 30 Million Americans suffer from Diabetes[1] (nearly 10% of the population[2]) and the disease costs the US more than $327B per year. Approximately 7.4 Million diabetics use one or more formulations of Insulin. For these individuals, not having access to the insulin they need puts them at risk of death or at least greatly impairs their quality of life.

The BBC News article documents what insulin users in America with lower incomes go through just to get the treatments they need. It’s hard to square the pain of giving up safety and security just to get the drug treaments you need.

One could debate whether it is fair that society should support those that have the bad luck to need this drug? (In my view society should.) What really is unjustifiable however is that the lack of a single payer healthcare system and the lack of regulation means that insulin costs 4-10x as much in the United States as it does elsewhere.

[1] (also provides a deep dive into Insulin economics)

[2] Up to 100 Million if you include pre-diabetes

Photo by Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash

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