Kristine Schachinger is pictured in February 2020. (Photo credit: Kristine Schachinger)
People in the United States pay more for the same prescription medications than citizens of comparable countries. As a result, some Americans facing an affordability crisis resort to other means to treat their conditions. For Kristine Schachinger in Las Vegas, soaring drug prices prompted her to travel to Mexico to purchase her medication.
In March 2020, Kristine contracted COVID-19, which soon developed into long COVID, creating new health challenges and exacerbating her Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Over the following two years, Kristine spent from $15,000 to $17,000 per year between her insurance, treatment, and prescription costs. To reduce the cost of her prescription drugs, Kristine has opted to buy some prescriptions outside of the United States, in Mexico.
Because I am spending so many thousands every year on medical costs, I don’t have any real savings. I don’t have a house or other niceties people of my age and professional experience can afford because a good portion of my money goes to maintaining my health. I am also constantly having to fight my insurance company to get them to cover drugs I need. When you have a chronic illness in our country, it governs your entire life. It is the basis of most every major life decision you make. It shouldn’t be this way.
More than 80 percent of Americans agree that it’s time for Congress to address rising drug prices. Empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices, capping out-of-pocket spending on prescriptions, and penalizing drug companies whose price hikes outpace inflation are policies Congress must enact to help ensure no American must travel to another country to afford their prescriptions.
Read more stories on economic justice and health care
This storybook features women in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose stories center on issues from prescription drug pricing and health insurance, to child care and paid leave.